Far-right political commentator Éric Zemmour has confirmed that he will be standing for the 2022 presidential elections to “save” France from the “tragic destiny that awaits it.”
In a video published on YouTube at midday today (November 30), Mr Zemmour said: “My dear compatriots. For years, one feeling has enveloped you, suppressed you, haunted you.
“A strange and penetrating feeling of dispossession.
“You walk through the streets of your towns and you no longer recognise them, you watch your screens and see a strange – and frankly foreign – language being spoken.”
Mr Zemmour’s words were accompanied by a movement from German composer Beethoven’s Symphony No.7 and images of delinquency and riots, of advertising campaigns showing women wearing headscarves and footballers taking the knee.
“You remember the country that your parents described to you,” he continued,” the country of Joan of Arc and Louis XIV, of Bonaparte and General de Gaulle... This country that you cherish and which is in the process of disappearing.”
“The transformation of our country into a Third World country is impoverishing it,” he claimed. “That is why we often struggle to reach the end of the month.
“We must win back our sovereignty, surrendered to technocrats and European judges who have deprived French people of their capacity to decide their own future.
“I have decided to take our destiny in hand. I understand that no politician has the courage to save the country from the tragic destiny which awaits it.
“It is no longer the time to reform France, it is time to save it. This is why I have decided to stand for the presidential elections.”
As Mr Zemmour prepared to announce his candidacy this morning, government spokesperson Gabriel Attal described him as a “Trump ordered on [shopping platform] Wish,” which has been accused in the past of selling counterfeit goods.
“He has got bored of his polemicist persona and probably, as we saw in Marseille, the French people have got bored” as well, Mr Attal said on Europe 1 this morning.
“We can question his capacity to represent our country and to occupy its highest position.
“When you are a political figure, when you hope to become president of the Republic, you do not show your middle finger to French people.
“He has sold us the image of a French Trump. He is a Trump ordered on Wish.”
Mr Zemmour has for months been suggesting that he may stand for the 2022 presidential elections, but until today he had declined to confirm his candidacy.
Yesterday (November 29), members of Mr Zemmour’s team tweeted #Zemmourcandidat and “The adventure will begin tomorrow at 12:00”.
The 63-year-old is due to hold his first campaign meeting in Paris on Sunday and the Confédération de travail and Solidaires unions have already announced that they will join antifascist groups at a protest aimed at “shutting Zemmour up” that afternoon.
By announcing his candidacy today, Mr Zemmour – who is aiming to attract voters from the right and far-right – will draw attention away from Les Républicains’ nomination process, which between December 1 and 4 will see a single candidate emerge from the five currently in the running.
The candidates in question – Michel Barnier, Xavier Bertrand, Éric Ciotti, Philippe Juvin and Valérie Pécresse – will take part in a televised debate TF1, just after Mr Zemmour appears for an interview on the channel.
Mr Zemmour is currently the subject of a court case regarding incitement of racial hatred, following comments he made about unaccompanied child migrants during a September 2020 debate on CNews.
During the show, he said that unaccompanied child migrants have “no reason being here: they are thieves, they are killers, they are rapists, that’s all they do, they should be sent back,” comments for which France’s broadcast regulator Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel fined CNews €200,000.
Mr Zemmour has already been twice convicted of inciting racial hatred in the past.
Initially, polls had given Mr Zemmour around 17-18% of the vote in a future election, enough to reach the second round, but now his support has fallen to 14-15%, lagging behind that of President Emmanuel Macron (25%) and Rassemblement National’s Marine Le Pen (19-20%).
At the end of a visit to Marseille last weekend – during which he was heckled by locals – Mr Zemmour exchanged middle finger gestures with a passerby who had confronted him, immediately making headlines across the country.
Buying power is number one priority for people in France, new study suggests
A new study by Odoxa for Europe 1 has shown that buying power is the key concern of people in France ahead of next year’s presidential elections.
Around 45% of respondents chose purchasing power as the most important aspect of the 2022 elections, while health was only chosen by 30%, immigration by 25%, security and anti-terrorism by 24%, the environment by 21%, unemployment by 13%, education by 13%, and French national identity by 10%.
Around 90% of participants classed buying power as a ‘very important’ or ‘fairly important’ concern, 94% believed that the Covid lockdowns had accelerated inflation and 80% felt that theirs had declined over the last 12 months.
Fuel and energy bills have been the outgoings most severely affected by rising prices, according to the study’s 1,005 respondents, who were surveyed between November 3 and 24.
However, a study carried out this month by the Institut des politiques publiques, a government policy research body, suggested that French living standards have improved over President Macron’s first term for all but the 5% of lowest income households.
In general, the income of people in France has grown by 1.6%, but for the most deprived households – affected by tax rises on energy bills and only slight increases to benefit payments – it has fallen by 0.5%.