PARIS — Far-right commentator Eric Zemmour said on Tuesday he will stand in France’s 2022 presidential election, confirming his political ambitions after dominating the headlines for weeks with provocative comments on immigration.
Zemmour, a former journalist who has been convicted for inciting hatred, becomes the top contender to challenge Marine Le Pen, leader of the more established far-right National Rally, for a place in a second round against President Emmanuel Macron, Reuters reported.
“For a long time I was happy with the role of journalist … but I no longer trust that a politician will have the courage to save the country from the tragic fate that awaits it,” Zemmour said in a video posted on social media.
“That’s why I have decided to stand in the presidential election.”
His hardline criticism of Islam and immigration has made him a polarising figure, drawing support both from Le Pen’s voter base and from the mainstream conservative right, while also alienating others in France.
After a meteoric rise in opinion polls over the past weeks, with several surveys forecasting he would make it to the election’s run-off round, his popularity has been slipping.