Bannon to attend French far-right summit, meet Le Pen

National Front leader Marine Le Pen addresses a rally last month                  REUTERS  Pascal Rossignol

Ms Le Pen, who came second in the presidential race past year but was later elected to the French parliament, said recently that the Front National, which was founded by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen in 1971, had grown up and it was time to change the branding and the name of the party. "Let them call you racists".

A fresh New York Times profile gives some insight into Bannon's plans for taking over Europe, which range from training "an army of populist foot soldiers in the language and tools of social media", to spreading "populist websites in the image of Breitbart News".

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

Far-right parties in Austria and Italy may be celebrating recent polls, but France's National Front shows how fast politics can change.

The party is set to strip 89-year-old Jean-Marie Le Pen of his role as honorary president, severing his last formal link to the movement he led for almost four decades.

Despite being ousted from his White House post past year and feuding with Trump in recent months, Bannon praised the president's "economic nationalism" that he said "does not care about your race, your religion, your ethnicity".

Speaking of Cohn's resignation from the White House, Bannon later gave reporters his take on the former economic adviser's recent departure from Trump's circle - as well as the increasing number of outgoing staffers.

Marion Marechal-Le Pen, a former lawmaker, is more socially conservative and economically liberal than her aunt.

Bannon has publicly praised Marechal-Le Pen in the past, and she spoke at a recent convention of US conservatives. Le Pen hopes to rally supporters around a new party name - and possibly a new direction.

The National Front is unveiling a new name at its party congress in Lille in northern France.

But in general, the meeting between Bannon and the party of Marine Le Pen came a particularly fraught moment for them both, with one and the other trying to remain relevant in an unforgiving political environment.

The National Front was co-founded in 1972 by her father, the convicted Holocaust denier Jean-Marie Le Pen, who continues to refer to Nazi gas chambers as a "detail" in the history of World War II.

An election next year for members of the European Union's lawmaking arm will be the National Front's first chance to test its rebranding strategy.

One of the FN's two senators Claudine Kauffmann resigned, denouncing "nepotism" in the party in a letter to Le Pen made public Friday.

Party members supported legalised euthanasia, which Le Pen opposes, favour of gay marriage and are against the death penalty, she said. He's also expected to meet with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose far-right, anti-immigrant political stance has aligned him with similar populist, nationalist movements. It won more seats in the European Parliament than any other French party in 2014.

The 49-year-old mother of three told French radio recently she would gladly step aside before the 2022 presidential election if another candidate was "better placed to unite people and help our ideas triumph".

Angela Charlton contributed in Paris.

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