Eric Zemmour isn’t exactly a terrific candidate

Eric Zemmour isn’t exactly a terrific candidate
Eric Zemmour isn’t exactly a terrific candidate

Eric Zemmour, a hugely popular far-right journalist and host who opposes multiculturalism, feminism and welcoming migrants, should formalize his candidacy for the 2022 French presidential elections in the coming days. So far, as an unofficial candidate, he has started a kind of electoral campaign around the country under the pretext of presenting his latest book, and has centered around himself the presidential debate: it is included in the polls (which give him second place after the current president Emmanuel Macron) and participates in televised debates with those who are already candidates.

In recent weeks, however, Zemmour has made a number of rather gross errors, and the success of his pre-campaign has been abruptly halted.

– Read also: The French right revolves more and more around Eric Zemmour

Last October 20, during a visit to a fair dedicated to security in Villepinte, about thirty kilometers from Paris, Zemmour aimed a high-precision rifle at the journalists present: “Don’t laugh anymore now, eh … step back,” he said. laughing. Aside from pointing a weapon at someone, many have pointed out that at a previous meeting of his, Zemmour had declared that he wanted to “reduce the power of the media.”

On November 13, on the sixth anniversary of the 2015 Bataclan attacks, Zemmour appeared in front of the concert hall accusing the then President Hollande of not having “protected the French” and of having taken the “criminal decision to leave the borders open”. . His presence and what he said were criticized by survivors, relatives of the victims, various politicians and associations: not only did they contest his presence (“No politician had ever spoken on November 13 from one of the places targeted »Said Arthur Dénouveaux, president of the association of victims” Life for Paris “), but also the use of false information – the bombers came from Belgium, they were Belgian and French – and the political exploitation of what happened.

A few days ago, then, the magazine Closer published an article saying that Zemmour would become a father in 2022: the director of his election campaign, Sarah Knafo, 28 and with whom he is not married, would be pregnant. The news was commented on simply because 63-year-old Zemmour put advocacy of so-called traditional values ​​of family and marriage at the top of his political agenda.

However, one of the most criticized moments of his pre-campaign was the trip to Marseille on Friday 26 November, which according to French and European newspapers has turned into “a total fiasco”.

Protests against Eric Zemmour in Marseille, November 26, 2021 (AP Photo / Daniel Cole)

The one in Marseille was to be the last stop on Zemmour’s book promotion tour, before the official launch of his electoral campaign. Informed of the presence of the anti-fascist movements who had organized a protest at the Saint-Charles station, where he was supposed to arrive, Zemmour preferred to get off at Aix-en-Provence, thirty kilometers earlier. Once he arrived at his destination, his planned walk around town turned into a very brisk walk of just fifteen minutes on a deserted street. Without ever stopping, he did not interact with anyone.

Later, while he was in the car, a passerby gave him the middle finger and he, from the car’s down window, promptly returned the gesture. A photographer from Agence France-Presse managed to take a photo that was widely circulated and that was criticized a bit by everyone because it was not very presidential.

Zemmour’s entourage made it known that it was “an instinctive gesture”, and two days later he himself acknowledged on Twitter that he was “very inelegant”. However, what he wrote is far from sincere apologies, many have noted: Zemmour said that this was not the place to open a debate as he likes to do, that he did not have time, and that therefore he “used the only language that you and your “antifa” companions understand immediately: yours ». However, imitating that woman, he concluded, “was very inelegant, I agree”.

Also in Marseille, Zemmour spoke near Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, where the archdiocese refused to grant him the park of the basilica. The week before he had been refused to use other spaces both in London (“Anyone who wants to incite hatred against people because of their skin color or religious belief is not welcome,” said Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London) and Geneva.

Eric Zemmour contested in London, November 19, 2021 (AP Photo / Kirsty Wigglesworth)

During his speech Zemmour said that the city is “the counter-example of France”, which has been “disintegrated by immigration and partly Islamized”: “Marseille is the future of France in twenty years if we do nothing” . And again: “All of France will be like Marseille if we continue to welcome 400 thousand immigrants a year”.

Near La Canebière, the main road that crosses the historic center of the cities, at least 300 demonstrators protested against his arrival, shouting “fascist”, “Marseille anti-racist” and “go away”.

All these incidents made Zemmour’s position very complicated. Several of his supporters are distancing themselves from him, perhaps because they previously saw him as a more capable and presentable candidate for president than he is demonstrating. Wealthy far-right patron Charles Gave, president of a Hong Kong-based financial group who had loaned the former tenant € 300,000 at the end of September, withdrew his support, as did some politicians who initially had it. leaning.

Zemmour, increasingly isolated and increasingly contested wherever he goes, is also dropping in the polls. And there is someone who is questioning whether he can actually decide to run or whether he is able to do so: at the moment, even “his most fervent faithful doubt his ability to take the plunge”, he writes The world.

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