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Rise of Far-right politician Eric Zemmour in France

Rise of Far-right politician Eric Zemmour in France

Ground Report | New Delhi: Who is Eric Zemmour; On November 17, the far-right socialist Eric Zemmour went to trial in Paris on charges of inciting racial hatred . In September 2020, he said on the CNews news program that unaccompanied foreign minors are “thieves, they are murderers, they are rapists, that’s what they are.” “We must return them,” he said. He did not appear at the trial and was represented by his lawyers, who declared that the accusation was unfounded.

Zemmour had already been convicted of inciting racial and religious hatred and was also tried and acquitted in other trials. But this time there is more at stake: the accused is a candidate for President of the Republic of France. In early November, polls indicated that up to 17% of the electorate would vote for him as the next president. This placed him only behind Emmanuel Macron, suggesting that the second round could be between the two. On November 30, he officially announced his candidacy.

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Zemmour said he was running “to prevent our sons and grandchildren from experiencing barbarism, to prevent our daughters from being veiled and our sons from being subdued.”

He accused the elites – European journalists, politicians, judges, technocrats – of failing France, which he said was represented by a long list of illustrious men and women, including Joan of Arc, Louis XIV and Napoleon.

Zemmour has already rearranged the political calculus of various candidates in the presidential elections, to be held in April next year.

The French presidential elections use a two-round system, with the first two candidates in the first round advancing to a second round. Recent polls have placed Zemmour in third place, with roughly 14 to 15 percent support, behind President Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Rally party, which met in the second round of the last presidential elections in 2017.

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Zemmour’s latest book, “France Has Not Yet Said Its Last Word,” which he published in September to mark his unofficial entry into the presidential race, has sold more than 250,000 copies.

Who is Eric Zemmour?

Zemmour, 63, was born in a Paris suburb to an Algerian Jewish family who came to France during the 1954-62 Algerian War. His father Roger was a paramedic, while his mother Lucette stayed home.

A graduate of the University of Sciences Po, he became a journalist after failing twice to join the prestigious Ecole Nationale d’Administration, the school of government that has trained the majority of French presidents, including Emmanuel Macron.

“Eric Zemmour became a television celebrity for his ability to debate. He is a polemicist who is known for his broad culture and his very good ability to defend and communicate his ideas. And first he had the reputation of someone who was passionate about the jousting of public speaking. “said political analyst Bruno Cautrès of Sciences Po’s Center for Political Research in Paris.

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“And you know that in France, politics still works hard on the talent of public speaking, the ability to make speeches, to elicit great ideas, which I think is important in French culture and in our political life,” said the specialist. of said the French right.

Zemmour’s latest show on CNews, a right-wing television network that has been compared to Fox News, drew hundreds of thousands of viewers daily. On a show last year, he called unaccompanied migrant children “thieves,” “murderers,” and “rapists.” His comments brought him to court on charges of hate speech. He has been convicted once of the same charge, and there are many other ongoing cases against him.

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But he had to resign his role as a prime-time commentator on CNews after France’s media regulator CSA ruled last month that the 63-year-old should be considered a politician, not a journalist, meaning that its airtime should be subject to limitations.

Zemmour has also been a prolific book writer with a dozen political and historical essays published since the mid-1990s. The French Suicide: 40 Years That Defeated France, which instantly became a best-seller when published in 2014, blames France’s decline on the progressive legacy of May 1968. France Hasn’t Said its Last Word, his latest book, reportedly sold more than 131,000 copies in just 12 days, according to the right-wing newspaper Valeurs Actuelles.

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