Will Eric Zemmour Win French Presidential Elections?

Eric Zemmour is a renowned French journalist of Algerian origin. He started his career in journalism in 1986 by working as a reporter for the daily, Le Quotidien de Paris.  In 1996, he joined the editorial board of Le Figaro and was a chief reporter in the political service until 2009. He participated in cultural shows widely watched by the French public.

Zemmour is the author of political books and polemical articles. In 2006, he published his first book, dubbed “Le Premier Sexe” (The First Sex), in which he condemned the excessive feminization of the society, leading to intense arguments with feminist movements.

He realized there is no such thing as bad or good publicity, but instead publishes propaganda that ensures his continuous media presence regardless of the reason.

Although Eric Zemmour hasn’t officially declared his candidacy yet, he has succeeded in sparking a media frenzy.

He has recently taken advantage of the commemorations marking the November 2015 terrorist attack on the Bataclan theatre in Paris to accuse ex-president Francois Hollande of “criminal” negligence, for failing to detect those attackers who slipped into Europe among a huge influx of Syrian migrants.

He is known for his hardline position on immigration and Islam issues and adopts a provocative style that he believes will allow him to repeat the US ex-president Donald Trump’s experience.

He does not have an integrated election campaign, but merely inflammatory actions. These include calling for a ban on “foreign” first names such as Mohammed, denouncing LGBT “propaganda,” railing against the immigration of Muslim Africans and saying Islam doesn’t share France’s core values.

Zemmour’s many critics accuse him of trying to rehabilitate France’s wartime Vichy regime, which collaborated with the Nazis during the World War II in persecuting French Jews and sending them to the Nazi Holocaust. He has been sanctioned twice for inciting racial hatred.

He uses intimidation as a means to deliver his opinion, which resonates widely on social media.

Zemmour is aware of the clash of ideas in the world in general, and the west in particular, over new trends such as gay marriage or the racial revolution, in which white men are accused of being behind all the earth’s calamities, as well as challenges to traditional concepts of Western societies.

He knows that the world is currently not only facing economic and health crises due to the coronavirus pandemic, but also a social dilemma, represented by the relations among people and with the land, as well as accepting others’ choices no matter how unconventional they are.

He also recognizes that rationality to address these issues is either absent at this stage or is minimal. Many people who do not follow these irrational trends are not tolerated by their society, and may be expelled from work or socially ostracized.

The only approved rhetoric for segments from the far-right to the far-left includes incendiary tirades, which apparently appeals to wide spectrum of enthusiasts.

It is noteworthy that Europe had been a hub for fascist and Nazi ideologies in the past century. Therefore, the positions taken by Zemmour today and Jean-Marie Le Pen before are highly agreed by a segment of the French populace and among the extremists in Europe in general.

France could become like Lebanon in 2050, Zemmour once stated, in reference to a sectarian division that would lead to civil war.

Ironically, his hate speech, which demonizes the other who is different religiously, sexually and ethnically, could lead France to this fate.

Will Zemmour win the 2022 elections?

It is very unlikely. Regardless of the problems France faces, French patriotism overpowers the religious, sectarian or ethnic affiliation. The circumstances in the European country are completely different from those of the United States, so are the conditions that led to Trump’s victory.

Zemmour will most probably compete against Marine Le Pen to head the far-right party. Let us wait and see.