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Trump former strategist Steve Bannon addresses France's far-right party congress

Trump former strategist Steve Bannon addresses France's far-right party congress

He is to meet with the leader of France's right-wing National Front (FN) Marine Le Pen, and address the party's congress in Lille on Saturday.

"The tide of history is with us, and it will compel us to victory after victory after victory", Bannon claimed. But the two had a bitter falling out and Bannon was sacked last August, though he continued to speak with the president and tried to promote his "America First" agenda.

Bruno Cautrès, of the centre for political research at Sciences Po, said the party was undergoing a "crisis of Marine Le Pen's leadership". 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. 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. "I am not offended when I hear President Donald Trump say 'America first, ' " she said.

The party conference in Lille will also feature a vote as to whether the elder Le Pen can keep his title as the party's honorary president.

The anti-establishment former head of Breitbart News has repeatedly expressed support for Europe's far right movements. Let them call you nativists. "Wear it as a badge of honour because every day we get stronger and they get weaker". The populist 5-Star Movement and the anti-immigration League both outdid traditional parties. "Let them call you xenophobes".

Bannon spoke at the National Front's annual convention in the French city of Lille after traveling through Europe in recent weeks for meetings with populist leaders of various parties.

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"Right or left doesn't mean anything and doesn't reflect the real division in France today which is between those who feel the nation is an obstacle and those who feel the nation is a jewel to be defended", she said.

But Mr. Bannon, who said he was paying for the trip, said he was weighing whether to buy a name-brand outlet, like Newsweek or United Press International, or to start a new one, or to connect entrepreneurs with capital or invest himself.

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

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".

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. She bowed out of politics after her aunt's presidential defeat, but is expected to come back in a new role. "It has gone from a party first of protest in its youth, then an opposition party to a party of government", Le Pen said on French television. It won more seats in the European Parliament than any other French party in 2014.


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