Right-wing commentator Éric Zemmour said Tuesday he will run in the 2022 French presidential election, confirming his political ambitions after dominating the news with provocative comments about immigration for weeks.
Zemmour, a former journalist who was convicted of inciting hatred, becomes the main contender to challenge Marine Le Pen, leader of the more established far-right National Regroupment party, for a second-round vacancy against President Emmanuel Macron.
“For a long time I have been happy in the role of journalist… but I no longer believe that a politician will have the courage to save the country from the tragic fate that awaits him,” Zemmour said in a video posted on a social network.
“That’s why I decided to run in the presidential election.”
His scathing criticism of Islam and immigration makes him a polarizing figure, drawing support from both Le Pen’s constituency and the traditional conservative right, while alienating others in France.
After a meteoric rise in opinion polls over the past few weeks, when several pollsters predicted he would make it to the second round, his popularity is on the decline.
By now, most opinion polls predict Macron and Le Pen will face each other in the decisive vote in April, which the president is likely to win, as in the 2017 election.
But Zemmour has beaten Le Pen for some time in recent weeks, and the dispute for second place is still undefined in some polls.
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Reference: CNN Brasil