Steve Bannon mulls purchasing online news site to espouse his populist views


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

Steve Bannon, since getting knocked from his perch atop the populist movement propelling President Donald Trump that he claims to have architected, has packed up and taken his bluster to Europe. The populist 5-Star Movement and the anti-immigration League both outdid traditional parties.

Le Pen's performance in a pre-election debate with Macron was seen as one of the main reasons her party was defeated.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen is set to propose a name change for the National Front, part of a makeover created to make the anti-immigration party relevant again after she was defeated by Emmanuel Macron in the presidential race.

"History is on our side", he told the crowd of Marine Le Pen supporters.

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

The party canvassed 51,000 members past year about the name change proposal and on Saturday it emerged just 52 per cent had voted in favour among the 30,000 who responded. "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.

Jean-Marie Le Pen said that in losing heavily to Macron his daughter had "not been equal to the challenge" - a sentiment echoed by many FN members.

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

At home, she is banking on divisions between pro-Macron centrists and rightwingers tearing his party apart, making the FN France's biggest party of the right. Le Pen said the FN had two central aims: "to defend the identity, culture and security of the French involving the fight against immigration" and defending "France's social model and sovereignty". It won more seats in the European Parliament than any other French party in 2014.

However, Len Pen's credibility is among the potential obstacles to a possible far-right comeback.

France's President Emmanuel Macron and Germany's Chancellor give a joint press conference at the end of a European Union summit in Brussels, on December 15, 2017. "It validates the party line of neither right nor left".

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.

After threatening to crash the congress, with armed guards if necessary, the elder Le Pen said he would skip it.

Bannon has already spoken in Zurich, Switzerland at an event organized by a conservative publication, and on Saturday headlined the annual conference for France's National Front.