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France

Le Pen reveals National Front's proposed new name

media National Front president Marine Le Pen at the annual congress in Lille AFP

France’s far-right National Front will change its name to Rassemblement National (National Rally), if the proposal, announced today by party leader Marine Le Pen is agreed by a ballot of members.

Le Pen revealed the proposed new name in her closing remarks to the party’s annual conference.

The speech hit out at her usual targets – immigration, globalisation, President Emmanuel Macron’s government and the European Union.

“We’re not anti-European, we’re anti-European Union, that is to say the federal organization of the nations of Europe,” she told her audience in the north-eastern French city of Lille.

Le Pen accused EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier of wishing to “punish the British people” for voting to leave the EU and paid tribute to fellow right-wing nationalists, who have scored electoral successes in Italy or already hold power in Poland and Hungary.

She declared that her party had evolved from a "party of opposition" to a "party of government" and called on members to adopt a "culture of alliance", which would mean compromises with potential partners.

"I have no intention of proposing a change to our emblem - the flame," she said to applause, commenting that the logo, copied from Italy's fascist MSI movement in the 1970s, was "so elegant, so modern".

The name National Front is a psychological barrier to voters attracted by the party's ideas, she told the conference.

The new name should appeal to all those who "share our immense love for France", she said, and must have a political content before revealing her choice to a standing ovation and prolonged applause.

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