Eric Zemmour officially candidate for the presidential election of 2022

Lionel Jospin had contented himself with a fax. Michel Rocard and Édouard Balladur had made televised statements which had gone unnoticed. The official entry into the presidential campaign of journalist and essayist Eric Zemmour seems for the moment to have avoided these pitfalls. It was in a letter to the French read in the manner of the appeal of June 18 that the author of French suicide announced on Tuesday that he was officially a candidate in the presidential election which will take place in five months.

This unprecedented ten-minute video pre-recorded and broadcast on Tuesday noon on YouTube shows the far-right polemicist in front of a library, his tone serious and his eyes riveted on the pages of his speech. In a text with many literary references, the former political chronicler declares that “it is no longer time to reform France, but to save it. This is why I decided to run for the presidential election ”.

On notes by Beethoven and images evoking Joan of Arc and de Gaulle, La Fontaine and Aznavour, Jean Moulin and Barbara, Éric Zemmour describes a France in decline where reigns “a strange and penetrating feeling of dispossession”.

Whoever describes the French as “internal exiles” believes that immigration “is not the source of all our problems, even if it aggravates them all”. On the TF1 newspaper, he mentioned Josephine Baker, who entered the Pantheon the same day, as a “classic example of French assimilation that I want to restore”. Faced with the elites, whom he accuses of having concealed “the seriousness of our downgrading” and “the reality of our replacement”, he declared in the evening that his first measure as president would be to hold a referendum on the subject before the summer. ‘immigration.

A strategic moment

This declaration of candidacy comes at a strategic moment. It comes after a dazzling entry into the campaign which propelled Éric Zemmour up to 17% of the voting intentions in some polls, behind Emmanuel Macron and in front of Marine Le Pen. For two weeks, the candidate in need of rallies seems yet to ebb. The most recent poll carried out by Harris Interactive placed him (with 12% of the vote) behind Marine Le Pen (20%) and the possible candidate of the traditional right (LR) Xavier Bertrand (13%). Among the causes of this decline, we point out the accusations against François Hollande on November 13 and the controversy over Pétain’s role in World War II. Also in question, the finger of honor addressed to a militant “antifa” of Marseilles in response to an identical gesture on his part. A gesture “very inelegant”, agreed the principal concerned.

It is probably no coincidence either that this entry into the electoral arena took place on the day when the last televised debate of the candidates of the traditional right (LR) was held and on the eve of the start of the vote which will designate Saturday the winner. The first real campaign assembly that Eric Zemmour will hold, Sunday at the Zénith in Paris, where 5,000 people are expected, could also overshadow the future LR candidate. For the occasion, the General Confederation of Labor of Paris and the Young Anti-Fascist Guard are preparing a demonstration whose avowed objective is to “silence Zemmour”. For two weeks, almost all the trips of the former columnist have been followed by sometimes violent demonstrations. In Marseille, the restaurant where he had lunched on Friday was vandalized.

“Passéiste and twilight”

The reactions to this official entry into the race were not long in coming. Several commentators have scoffed at the “vintage” side of the posture and the images. Marine Le Pen, whose essayist openly covets the popular electorate, deemed the exercise “backward-looking and twilight”. The Minister of the Interior, Gérard Darmanin, denounced a “despicable” video.

The first secretary of the Socialist Party, Olivier Faure, whose candidate Anne Hidalgo hardly exceeds 5% of the voting intentions, denounced “the false notes of a fantasized past for a caricatured present”. This is an “old-fashioned” speech that targets “hatred”, according to the deputy editor of the daily Release, Alexandra Schwartzbrod, speaking on BFM-TV. We know that Eric Zemmour has been condemned twice by the courts for incitement to hatred, offenses that the candidate described the same evening on TF1 as “offenses of opinion, of press offenses” by announcing that he would repeal this law.

On the contrary, the dean of the editorialists of the French press, Alain Duhamel, was much more lenient. He sees in this “mixture of seniority, eternal France and modernity” an exercise “not trivial”. At the candidate’s headquarters, a stone’s throw from the Champs-Élysées, his spokesperson, Olivier Ubéda, replied that Eric Zemmour was “a writer, a man of the pen. […] not a man of tweets ”.

The video spares no leader, starting with Emmanuel Macron, who “presented himself as a new man” when he “was in truth the synthesis of his two predecessors and worse,” said Zemmour. Only Marine Le Pen, candidate LR Éric Ciotti and Eurosceptic Jean-Luc Mélenchon are spared. As if the candidate wanted to spare their voters and not close the door to possible alliances. According to Ubéda, the video recorded two weeks ago has accumulated nearly 90,000 simultaneous views. One thing is certain, it did not go unnoticed.

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