The far-right polemicist Eric Zemmour presidential candidate in France

After having made the suspense last for months, the sulphurous far-right polemicist Eric Zemmour solemnly announced his candidacy for the presidential election to “save” France “in the process of disappearing” according to him, due to immigration and globalization.

“It is no longer time to reform France, but to save it. This is why I decided to run for the presidential election, ”said the former journalist in a video speech broadcast on his Youtube channel, transparent reference to a famous shot of General de Gaulle, interspersed in particular with images attacks and urban violence.

“You have the impression of no longer being in the country you know”, he told tens of thousands of people connected to listen to him, recounting key figures in French history and culture, Joan of Arc, De Gaulle, Pascal, Descartes, Molière….

Addressing those who are touched by a “feeling of dispossession” of this “country which you seek everywhere with despair, this country which you cherish and which is disappearing”, he tells them to have “decided to take our destiny in hand ”and to free themselves from any shame they may feel at having these ideas.

And to list the reasons for this decline: immigration which “is not the cause of all our problems even if it aggravates them all”, the “chimera of a Europe which will never be a nation”, the political leaders from all sides….

Four and a half months before the election, the former columnist for the daily Le Figaro and the CNews channel, the “French Fox News”, twice convicted of incitement to racial hatred, threw himself into the arena at the ‘after several months of an unofficial campaign, carried out as part of a promotional tour of his latest book.

The object of exceptional media attention, the 63-year-old polemicist, even before being a candidate, had made a dazzling breakthrough in the polls since the start of the school year, even ahead of the head of the far right Marine Le Pen, finalist in the second round of the 2017 election against Emmanuel Macron.

But he has been accumulating setbacks for several weeks, losing support and points in the polls, which settle around 14 to 15% of voting intentions in the first round, and multiplying the slippages: a virulent speech held in front of the Bataclan on the anniversary evening the 2015 jihadist attacks in Paris, a calamitous visit to Marseille (south), which ended with an exchange of fingers of honor with an opponent, or a gun pointed in the direction of journalists during a visit to a military lounge.

He will hold his first real campaign meeting on Sunday at the Zénith in Paris.

By declaring himself Tuesday, the polemicist, who aims to bring together right-wing and far-right voters, parasitizes the process of investiture underway within the republican right, where activists are called to vote from Wednesday to Saturday. to choose from five suitors.

The latter also hold their last debate on television Tuesday evening, just after the 8 p.m. newspaper during which Mr. Zemmour will be interviewed.

Removal of land rights

The supporters of Zemmour pride themselves on having already weighed on the themes of the campaign, particularly on the fight against immigration, a subject of predilection for the essayist, with his criticisms of Islam, a “civilization” that he considers “incompatible with the principles of France”.

The beginnings of its future program promise a referendum on immigration, the abolition of land rights or family reunification and the ban on having a first name of foreign origin, a proposal that has aroused the indignation of the political class in France and fueled the debates for several weeks.

His far-right rival Marine Le Pen, whom he said she would “never” win the presidential election, regularly marks her difference by contesting the “displaced radicalism” of the polemicist, who according to her did not “do” his transformation ”into a candidate.

Ms. Le Pen, who has been working for years to demonize her party and erase its excesses, recently welcomed the fact that Mr. Zemmour allowed her to “refocus” on the political spectrum.

The latter, who says he admires Donald Trump, recalls the former US president in his provocations and his excesses, but, unlike the Republican billionaire, does not enjoy the support of a large party.

The constitution of a network on the ground will also be one of its many challenges, if only to obtain the 500 sponsorships of elected officials necessary for a presidential candidacy. His camp ensures to rely on 250 to 300 sponsorship pledges.

Eric Zemmour is also accused of sexual assault according to several testimonies of women collected by the information site Mediapart. But no complaint has been announced against him.

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