French far-right commentator Zemmour to announce presidential run on Tuesday

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past posters in support of French far-right commentator Eric Zemmour, probable candidate for the French presidential election next April, posted on a wall in Paris, France, October 13, 2021. Picture taken October 13, 2021. REUTER

PARIS (Reuters) – French far-right commentator Eric Zemmour will announce on Tuesday that he will run in the 2022 presidential election, according to an email sent to his supporters.

Zemmour, a former journalist known for his hardline anti-migration stance, has dominated the pre-election calendar with his polarising language even if, so far, he hadn’t officially confirmed he would be a candidate.

But after a meteoric rise in opinion polls, several of which forecast he would make it to the election’s run-off round, his popularity has started slipping – which his supporters would hope could change once he announces his bid.

“On Tuesday, around midday, Eric Zemmour will announce to you, live, his candidacy,” said an email sent to Zemmour supporters. “So far, it was a warm-up. The real race begins.”

He is expected to announce his candidacy via a video of about 10 minutes, which will be published on social media.

Zemmour posted an image on Twitter (NYSE:) of an hourglass

Zemmour’s hardline criticism of Islam and immigration has made him a polarising figure, drawing support from the voter base of the more established far-right Rassemblement National party of Marine Le Pen and the mainstream conservative right, but also alienating others in France.

Zemmour, who has been convicted for inciting hatred, is also due to appear on the TF1 flagship news programme on Tuesday evening, a traditional step for candidates.

Most opinion polls now forecast that President Emmanuel Macron and Le Pen will make it to the second round of the vote next April, which Macron would be likely to win. But Zemmour had led Le Pen for a while, and the race for the number two spot is neck-and-neck in some surveys.

At the weekend, Zemmour was photographed giving the middle finger to a protester following a tumultuous campaign stop in Marseille. He sued gossip magazine Closer after it claimed he was expecting a baby with his chief political aide.

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