Bannon endorses goals of French far-right party

Raikkonen'can't wait for F1 season as testing ends

Bannon's appearance in France was part of a European tour as he seeks an worldwide platform for his closed-borders, anti-foreigner message.

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon has given a big boost to French far right leader Marine Le Pen, telling a cheering crowd at a congress of her National Front party that "history is on our side".

And heading the line-up of guest speakers is Donald Trump's former adviser Steve Bannon.

Bannon was among Trump's closest aides during the 2016 election campaign, the presidential transition and his first months in office.

"You fight for your country and they call you racist. Let them call you nativists", he said. "Wear it as a badge of honor", he told the crowd at the party congress.

The Front National (FN) have been out of the media limelight after their defeat to Emmanuel Macron in last May's presidential elections. The National Front today has changed in nature.

Bannon's visit to France is the third stop on his European tour.

"Today's politics can not be summed up by the left-right divide".

Marine Le Pen, France's far-right National Front (FN) political party leader, speaks during a rally in Laon, France, February 18, 2018.

But the pair had a bitter public falling out and Bannon was sacked by the White House last August, though he continued to speak with Trump and tried to promote the president's agenda.

Marine Le Pen will try to shore up her damaged leadership of the National Front by relaunching the party under a new, less sulphurous name.

She has long sought to "de-demonize" the party by moving away from its racist past, but Le Pen's own father complained that Bannon was the "most radical" of Trump's advisers, saying Saturday's invitation "is not exactly the definition of 'de-demonization'".

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

Bannon has publicly praised Marechal-Le Pen in the past, and she galvanized the crowd at a recent convention of United States conservatives.

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. "The name change will mark the start of a new chapter, that of a party suited to being in power and striking alliances,"...

"We're at a turning point ... don't bury us", she said in an interview with France's Le Figaro newspaper published Friday. The younger Le Pen has said the proposed name change is needed to show that the party had become "adult", The Guardian reported.

At the conference in Lille, in the FN's northern heartlands, Le Pen will urge the party to move away from the mindset of being a permanent opposition, ground it has occupied since it was founded, to broadening its appeal with a view to governing.

Le Pen is seeking to make over her struggling party after her failed presidential bid past year.

The party's deputy president Louis Aliot was the one who shed light to the explosive news about Bannon's speech on the first day of the conference.

"She wants to revive her links with party members and gear up for next year's European Elections". It won more seats in the European Parliament than any other French party in 2014.

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