In the upcoming presidential elections in 2022, the French far right risks overcrowding. Eric Zemmour, controversial columnist for the Figaro and well-known face of the CNews broadcaster, famous for his anti-immigration and anti-Islam positions, could also participate in the race for the Elysée. A figure appreciated by the voters of the extreme and ultra-conservative right wing “hors le mur” (outside the walls, in Italian), tired of the restyling launched by Marine Le Pen that calls for a return to origins.
The news has been in the air for weeks, but the person concerned at the moment simply sends some signals without completely dissolving the reserve. “Maybe we need to take action,” Zemmour said last night in an interview with Le Livre Noir, an ultra-conservative online media. “I make more and more proposals, I think more and more about how to apply what I say”, explained the columnist, suggesting that a reflection is underway.
For years courted by the French far right, Zemmour has always refused to run as a candidate wearing the colors of a party. In 2019, his agreement with Marion Maréchal, former deputy of the Front National and grandson of Le Pen, had fueled the fantasies of several French newspapers, which already saw a “union of the right” never realized.
According to Politico, Zemmour is already looking for an election campaign director. With this in mind, in recent days he would have addressed Patrick Stefanini, a well-known face of the French right who followed Jacques Chirac in 1995 and François Fillon in 2017. The news was confirmed by Stefanini himself, who admitted that he had recently seen the journalist, explaining, however, that he does not want to make “the minimum presidential commitment” at the moment. “The ideological differences on certain issues, such as Europe, are too strong, the deal should not be concluded even though Eric dreamed it,” revealed a source to the weekly L’Express.
Indeed, the would-be candidate may have some difficulty forming a team. Noted for his provocations, Zemmour has a long track record of convictions for inciting racial hatred. The latest, in chronological order, is the maxi fine of 200 thousand euros imposed in March by the Superior Audiovisual Council (CSA) on CNews, for comments on unaccompanied minor immigrants, described as “thieves”, “rapists” and “killers”. An episode on which the Paris prosecutor’s office is also investigating.
But Vincent Bolloré’s broadcaster does not seem to be embarrassed at all by his commentator, who after becoming a regular guest on the show “Face à l’Info” in October 2019 has sent ratings skyrocketing in less than a year. , with a 220% increase in viewers between February and May 2020 according to data from Mediametrie. A winning team does not change, therefore, for the sake of the editorial team, which has distanced itself from certain statements. Discontent even among the journalists of the Figaro. “It is clear: you cannot be a journalist in the Figaro and at the same time a presidential candidate”, guaranteed director Alexis Brezet, responding to the concerns of employees. But the embarrassment in the editorial office is also caused by the recent allegations of sexual harassment revealed by “Mediapart”, citing some women.
At the moment, however, the newspaper has not launched any internal investigation, preferring the path of silence while waiting to know the decision of its columnist on a possible candidacy.
A prospect that scares Marine Le Pen. “What is the interest of such a candidacy?”, Asked the leader of the Rassemblement National, speaking to the microphones of the “Grand Jury Rtl – Le Figaro – Lci”, who with the arrival of Zemmour should be confronted with an alter ego repeatedly praised in the past. As in 2012, when the president of the then Front National defended the journalist, accused of racism and machismo for statements on the Minister of Justice, Christiane Taubira. The risk for President Emmanuel Macron’s main challenger is certainly not that of being overtaken on the right, given that a poll published in February by Ifop gives Zemmour only 13%. Le Pen, on the other hand, fears an overlap of programs that would take away that slice of the decisive vote to beat Macron. In recent months, the political debate has become polarized on security issues, shifting the balance sharply to the right. A false theme according to the columnist: “security is a problem because we are experiencing a change of population and a war of civilization”. Zemmour wants to rise above the debate and for this reason he leverages the theses of the writer Renaud Camus regarding the “Great Replacement” of Western peoples by Islamic immigrants, so dear to that French far right that winks at the conspiracy sphere .
Thus, less than a year from the vote, the challenge for the Elysée is polarized even more to the right.