French far-right leader Marine Le Pen proposed renaming the National Front party co-founded by her father 46 years ago to National Rally, opening a new era after her resounding defeat in last year's presidential race.
Le Pen's proposal culminated her closing speech at the party's two-day congress in Lille, the capital of the National Front's northern heartland.
The name National Rally must be approved by party members in a mail vote and it's not clear whether they will accept the change.
The switch is meant to signal a new beginning and a decisive break from the toxic legacy of Jean-Marie Le Pen, a former paratrooper who has a long history of making racist and anti-Semitic remarks.
The party severed the last tie by stripping him of an honorary title on Sunday, the final act in a vitriolic and highly personal power struggle with his daughter, who took over the party in 2011.
Marine Le Pen said the National Front name was "associated with a glorious and epic history that no one can deny", but the 49-year-old added it was also an impediment that prevented the party winning power in elections.
"For a lot of French people... it's a psychological barrier," she said, as reported by AFP.
Her efforts to distance the party from its association with racism were dealt an immediate blow, however, when the deputy leader of the National Front youth movement was suspended for offensive remarks.
The National Front of the past has been a political force for decades, a kingmaker in numerous elections and a key player in others under Le Pen, notably for the European Parliament, where it won more seats than any French party. But Marine Le Pen herself may have credibility issues. Her conservative niece popular with traditional Catholics, Marion Marechal-Le Pen — voted most popular at the previous congress — was heaped with praise by special guest Steve Bannon, U.S. President Donald Trump's former top strategist, during a surprise appearance Saturday. Marine Le Pen said recently that she is not opposed to ceding her leadership but wants to stay on for at least three more years.
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