Macron dealt damning blow by far-right TV pundit – Le Pen overtaken in latest poll
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The hard-right political talk-show star Eric Zemmour has gained more ground and would reach the second-round runoff vote in France’s presidential election next April, a Harris Interactive opinion poll showed on Wednesday.
The poll is the first since Emmanuel Macron won the presidency in 2017 to upend the long-anticipated scenario of a repeat knockout contest between Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
A divisive figure who has made a career pushing the bounds of political correctness on subjects such as immigration and national identity, Zemmour has emerged in past months from the pack to become one of the most popular candidates.
The Harris Interactive poll showed Zemmour winning 17 percent (up 4 points on a late September poll) of voter support, beating Le Pen on 15% and any one of the three challengers vying for the centre-right ticket.
Macron would best Zemmour 55-45 percent in the second round, the poll showed. Macron beat Le Pen 66-34 percent in the run-off in 2017.
The Harris Interactive poll showed Macron against Le Pen at 53-47 percent, were she to get through this time.
Zemmour, 63, who holds convictions for inciting hatred, has not formally thrown his hat in the ring, but he is behaving every bit the challenger choosing his moment to act, describing himself as a “candidate in the debate”, quitting his prime-time chat-show spot to comply with electoral rules and publishing a book “France Has Not Yet Said Its Final Word”.
Zemmour paints himself as a political outsider in tune with an alienated middle class and in his book draws parallels between himself and former US President Donald Trump.
The poll showed Macron beating all main challengers in the second round, including Xavier Bertrand.
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Bertrand is running against Valerie Pecresse, head of the Ile de France region, and former European Union Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier for the mainstream right ticket.
After the launch of her presidential campaign in Fréjus on 13 September, Marine Le Pen took centre stage in Paris for a special press conference last month.
Outshined in the media by Eric Zemmour, Ms Le Pen chose the right moment to unveil a very controversial bill she drafted.
To pass the controversial bill, Ms Le Pen’s bill announced she will implement a national referendum which is allowed under the French constitution but rarely used.
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The last major referendum was in 2005 when French people voted against France ratifying a European Constitution.
She said: “If I were to be elected president, I would implement a referendum with one single question: ‘Do you approve of the C2I [Citizenship, Identity, Immigration] bill?’
“The bill consists of a full plan to take back control of immigration.
“What we’re offering is a ready for use solution to all our immigration issues thanks to a method, a philosophy and a full legislative package.”
With this never seen bill, Ms Le Pen plans to control a large spectrum that includes any immigrant entry, the expulsion of convicted immigrants, the protection of the French identity and heritage, and even the interdiction of any communitarianism.
National priority, according to Marine Le Pen, would mean any French citizen would have priority over immigrants on welfare benefits, council houses and jobs.
The C2I bill would only allow immigrants based in France to land “jobs, missions and functions that can’t be practised by French nationals.”
The details regarding these jobs have not been released yet.
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