French far-right commentator Eric Zemmour on Tuesday announced he will be running in the 2022 presidential election, joining a crowded field of candidates aiming to unseat President Emmanuel Macron.
Zemmour, a former journalist known for his extreme anti-migration stance, has dominated the pre-election calendar with his polarising language and unrivaled media attention.
But after a meteoric rise in opinion surveys, several of which forecast he would make it to the election’s run-off round, his popularity has started to slip amid a string of faux-pas.
At the weekend, Zemmour was photographed giving the middle finger to a protester following a tumultuous campaign stop in Marseille.
Prior to the announcement, his team sent out an email to supporters saying: “So far, it was a warm-up. The real race begins.” Zemmour had also posted an image on Twitter of an hourglass.
His blunt attacks on Muslims and immigrants have made him a polarising figure, drawing sustain from both the mainstream right and Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally, while also alienating others.
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Zemmour, who has been convicted of inciting hatred and faces further legal challenges, is also due to appear on the TF1 flagship news programme on Tuesday evening, a traditional step for candidates.
Most opinion surveys now forecast that Macron and Le Pen will make it to the second round of the vote next April, which the incumbent president would be likely to win.
But Zemmour had led Le Pen for a while, and the race for the number two identify is neck-and-neck in some surveys.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
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