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Steve Bannon to address National Front rebrand rally

France's Far Right Seeks Reboot Through Name Change, Unity Push

"Let them call you racist", he told the crowd. "And history is on our side", he said.

Bannon was himself a high-profile departure from the White House last August and was written off by Trump earlier this year, who named him "sloppy Steve", following the publication in January of incendiary comments attributed to him.

"It cares about one thing: Are you a citizen of the United States of America?"

Bannon, an American nationalist who ran the right-wing Breitbart News, was among Trump's closest aides during the 2016 USA election campaign, the presidential transition and his first months in office.

Speaking today at the conference, leader of the FN, Marine Le Pen, said: "Our individual and collective commitments go towards a cause that is greater than us". His appearance Saturday comes as Marine Le Pen aims to revive the National Front nine months after she was defeated by Emmanuel Macron in the presidential election.

Her speech echoed numerous statements of Donald Trump, the man Bannon helped get elected to the USA presidency. That figure presents a striking contrast with the 34 percent of the popular vote that Le Pen won in the presidential election, and her party can not be labeled the opposition.

The anti-establishment former head of Breitbart News has repeatedly expressed support for Europe's far right movements.

He said that Bannon understood like Trump, Matteo Salvini and Marine Le Pen that people want to control their own destiny.

Macron won with 66% of the vote vs. 34% for Le Pen, who had threatened to curb immigration and pull France out of the European Union, among other measures.

France's Far Right Seeks Reboot Through Name Change, Unity Push
Steve Bannon: Wear label of 'racist' as a 'badge of honor'

"You fight for your country and they call you racist. Let them call you nativists", he said. "Wear it as a badge of honour because every day we get stronger and they get weaker".

In the presidential election, it appeared this strategy paid off, as Le Pen gained more than 10 million votes (33.9 per cent) in the final round, despite her freakish and catastrophic performance in a debate with Macron, which cost her support.

Bannon then quipped: "We call that fake news".

Le Pen's young and ambitious niece Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, who claims to have withdrawn temporarily from politics, is also biding her time.

Le Pen, running as the only candidate for National Front president, said the changes amount to a "cultural revolution" so the reshaped party can "implant itself, create alliances and govern".

The weekend congress is expected to erase one persistent problem for Le Pen - her unpredictable, bombastic father - by eliminating his title of honorary president-for-life from party statutes.

In French media, Jean-Marie Le Pen - noting that Bannon was widely perceived as the "most radical" of Trump's advisers - cast doubt on the value of his daughter's American guest.

Since taking over the National Front's presidency in 2011, Marine Le Pen has worked to broaden the party's appeal by erasing the footprint of her father, who has multiple convictions for racism and anti-Semitism.

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