MOSCOW (AFP) – A leader of France’s far-right National Front said Tuesday that she welcomed reported plans by ultra-conservative US website Breitbart News to expand in France and support the party’s presidential campaign.
Breitbart News, whose anti-elite, anti-immigration agenda has made it popular with fringe groups and white supremacists, is credited with helping propel Donald Trump to the White House.
Trump named the executive chairman of the platform, Steve Bannon, as the CEO of his campaign in August and then chief strategist in the White House at the weekend.
Marion Marechal-Le Pen, whose aunt Marine is the leader of the National Front (FN) and its presidential candidate, told AFP on Tuesday that she would be happy to work with Breitbart if they came to France.
“All alternative media are generally positive. Donald Trump is the demonstration of that… they’re among the useful tools,” the 26-year-old parliamentarian told AFP on a visit to Moscow.
She said there had been no talks with Breitbart, but the FN has had “some small contacts for some time” with the Trump campaign.
Bannon called Marechal-Le Pen a “rising star” in an interview with French website radio-londres.fr in July and said the news group was hoping to open a Paris bureau, or start a French version.
Breitbart editor-in-chief Alexander Marlow told The New York Times that the site’s expansion would be linked to elections next year in Germany and France, where Breitbart intends to support Marine Le Pen.
“There’s an under-served readership” in Europe, Marlow was quoted as saying in an article published on Sunday. “It’s the same readers who had been ignored in Britain and had been ignored in the United States.”
Marine Le Pen is expected to win around 30 percent of votes in the first round of presidential elections in May next year, according to polls.
She would then face a second-round run-off against a rival candidate, most likely from the centre-right, which she is expected to lose.
Le Pen has worked hard to try to make the FN more acceptable to mainstream voters, shedding its overtly anti-Semitic and racist image under the party’s former leader, her father Jean-Marie.
Her platform remains focused on restricting immigration, fighting against Islamic fundamentalism and withdrawing France from the European Union.
She welcomed Trump’s stunning victory last week, saying his rise signalled the “building of a new world.”
Marechal-Le Pen was speaking at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations during a trip to Russia, which has courted the FN and other populist anti-EU parties in Europe.
The National Front seeks closer ties between the West and the Kremlin and supported President Vladimir Putin after his annexation of Crimea in Ukraine in 2014.
Marechal-Le Pen said Russia was a historic friend to France on Tuesday and that most French people “did not understand the government’s anti-Russian stance,” according to her Twitter account.