France, Foreign | Nominated as presidential candidate in France:

The right-wing radical TV commentator Eric Zemmour (63) announced on Tuesday that he is running as a presidential candidate in France.

Zemmour announced on social media that he will run in the presidential election in April next year “to save France”.

Researcher and Frenchman Franck Orban has followed Zemmour closely in the podcast «France explained».

– Eric Zemmour has a background as a journalist, but then he has increasingly moved in the direction of becoming a kind of politician with a very right-wing conservative program. Some even say that he is a reactionary politician who wants to restore France’s heyday from the 1950s. He wants to limit immigration to France and force immigrants to assimilate, says associate professor at Østfold University College, Franck Orban, to Nettavisen.

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– Zemmour appeals to the most conservative part of France. Politically, he stands somewhere between the National Assembly (Rassemblement national) and the Republicans (Les Républicains). Some of his supporters belong to the right of the National Assembly. This is a part of the far right that has not found any political foothold in political France. Zemmour has a very discriminatory view of women. He prefers to have women in the kitchen, and has stated that power is diluted when women come into a position of power, says Orban who is co-host of the podcast “France explained”.

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Thief-started election campaign

Zemmour kicked off the election campaign early this autumn, and thus enjoyed relatively high support in the polls. In October, Zemmour had a support of 17 percent, while Marine Le Pen in the National Collection was a horse’s head behind with 15 percent support. Incumbent President Emmanuel Macron then led with a support of 24 percent.

Now, however, Zemmour has dropped several percentage points on the polls, and is overtaken by Le Pen.

– He really has nothing else to contend with but to say that France is on the brink of civil war. By that he means that there is a big replacement going on, where the white majority is replaced by non-Europeans from especially North Africa. But now we are entering a phase of the election campaign where voters demand pragmatic solutions to specific everyday problems. Zemmour has focused exclusively on identity politics. And now he has to answer questions about socio-economic conditions, and there he is struggling, says Orban.

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– This is a grotesque plot

Like Trump, Zemmour has managed to attract an enormous amount of media attention. Earlier this autumn, he received 16 headlines in TV and newspapers in one month, according to the media watchdog Acrimed. It totaled eleven hours of TV time, while the main opponents Anne Hidalgo (The Socialists) and Le Pen were left with two hours and one hour on TV respectively in the same period.

– His strategy has been to get started early with the election campaign and to make the preservation of French identity as the biggest election campaign issue. He has a far too narrow policy, started far too early and has made far too dubious statements, says Orban.

Among other things, Zemmour has put forward a proposal to oblige parents with an immigrant background to baptize their children with Christian French first names.

– This is a grotesque plot, says Orban.

Zemmour has also asked French people with an immigrant background to leave the country if they cannot be assimilated.

– Can come to the second round of elections

The presidential election in France will be held in two rounds in April next year. The two candidates with the greatest support after the first round of elections advance to the second round. The candidate who receives at least 50 percent or more support will eventually win the presidential election.

– The threshold for getting to the second round of elections is low. This gives him a chance to get to the second half. There is also a great chance that he will stagnate and disappear completely from the election campaign. It has happened before. There have been other candidates who have been out early and done well in the polls, but as soon as the election campaign started, they fell to 5-6 percent, says Orban.

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Zemmour lacks a professional election campaign apparatus behind him and is apparently struggling to finance his own election campaign.

– In the early phase, he was promised quite a lot of money, but now one support after another has withdrawn. They fear that he is not a horse to bet on, says Orban.

– An intellectual Trump

Orban says that Zemmour shares certain similarities with Donald Trump.

– He has a provocative style, he knows how to use the media and runs one single case as the main one in the election campaign. He is undoubtedly inspired by Trump when it comes to tactics, Orban says.

Left-wing sociologist Philippe Corcuff describes Zemmour as an intellectual Trump.

– The difference is that Donald Trump led an anti-intellectual struggle and worked hard to show his contempt for intellectuals. While in France a president needs an intellectual appearance. Emmanuel Marcron highlighted his similarities to the philosopher Paul Ricœur. While Zemmour wants to be considered an intellectual Trump, Corcuff stated Politico earlier this fall.

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