The French far-right president promises ‘return’ hope at the rally

France's far-right presidential candidate Zemmour attends a campaign rally in Villepinte
French far-right commentator Eric Zemmour, a candidate in the 2022 French presidential election, attends a political rally in Villepinte near Paris, France, December 5, 2021. REUTERS/ Christian Hartmann

December 5, 2021

By Antony Paone and Leigh Thomas

VILLEPINTE, France (Reuters) – France’s far-right presidential candidate Eric Zemmour on Sunday promised a “re-election” against decades of decline at his first political rally. , when scuffles with anti-apartheid protesters broke out at its edge.

“If I win this election, it will not be a power rotation but a reelection to the greatest country in the world,” Zemmour said in a nearly one-hour speech. hour and a half.

He said he is calling his party “Reconquest,” a name that recalls the historical period known as the Reconquista, when Christian forces drove Muslim rulers from the Iberian peninsula.

With echoes of Donald Trump’s first US presidential campaign, Zemmour promised to cut immigration and taxes to cheers from flag-waving supporters that organizers put at 15,000. A Reuters statistic puts their number at around 10,000.

Zemmour’s supporters hurled punches and chairs at some protesters wearing anti-racism t-shirts trying to stand on chairs when Zemmour delivered his first speech since announcing his candidacy.

Earlier, police arrested several dozen anti-Zemmour protesters and chased others away near the huge hall in northern Paris. Hundreds of protesters also marched in Paris.


The former journalist and commentator ended weeks of speculation about running for president on Tuesday, announcing his candidacy in an online video.

Zemmour, who has been convicted of inciting racial hatred, is the main challenger to longtime far-right figure Marine Le Pen for a spot in the second round of next April’s elections. , most likely against President Emmanuel Macron.

Known for his provocative statements against Islam and immigration, he has won support from both Le Pen’s voter base but also mainstream conservatives.

He said he aims to bring immigration rates to zero if elected and cut taxes for the working class and companies, and abolish inheritance taxes on family businesses. He also said he would withdraw France from the combined military command of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Zemmour flirted with supporters of traditionally disillusioned conservatives, described as “friends” of right-winger Eric Ciotti, who did far better than expected in the party’s primaries. The centre-right Les Republic for the conservative candidate.

Ciotti ultimately lost to the more moderate head of the greater Paris region, Valerie Pecresse, in a ballot vote on Saturday.

At a smaller political rally, left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon countered the right-leaning trend, telling supporters: “No, France is not all about the far right, France. about social security and community health”.

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas and Antony Paone, additional reporting by Sophie Louet; Writing by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Alex Richardson) The French far-right president promises ‘return’ hope at the rally


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