Zemmour’s politics is a 'bad sign' for France says Lees
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In recent months the race to become the next French President has started to intensify, with a number of candidates launching their bids. The incumbent Emmanuel Macron has still to officially declare his bid for a second term in office but nonetheless is expected to run. So, where is he likely to find his toughest competition? Who are the polls currently favouring?
When is this year’s election?
Elections will begin on April 10 and should a second-round run-off be needed, finish as late as April 24.
Would-be candidates have until March 4 to present the 500 signatures of elected officials supporting their entry, which French law requires.
The first round of voting will take place on Sunday, April 10.
In the unlikely event no candidate receives a majority of the votes, then a second-round run-off featuring the two leading candidates from the first round will be staged two weeks later.
What are the polls saying?
According to Politico – a US based political journalism company – France’s current President Emmanuel Macron is the favourite to win the election.
As of Monday, January 17, Mr Macron is the preferred candidate with 25 percent of voters.
His closest challengers are Valérie Pécresse, the candidate for the conservative Les Republicains party, and Marine Le Pen who is President of the right-wing National Rally.
Both hopefuls are currently polling with 17 percent of the vote.
Elsewhere, the far-right independent candidate, Eric Zemmour is ranked as the fourth favourite, having seen his popularity dip recently.
On Monday, Mr Zemmour was fined €10,000 (£8,350) by a Paris court for hate speech.
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The case was launched over a TV appearance, where he described unaccompanied migrant children as “thieves”, “rapists” and “murderers”.
Former broadcaster Zemmour is known for his anti-Islam and anti-immigration views.
His lawyer said he would appeal against the court’s decision.
Mr Zemmour reacted to the decision on social media by complaining his freedom of speech was being restricted and said there was an “urgent need to drive ideology out of the courts”.
At the start of 2022, Mr Macron’s presidential rivals criticised him for displaying the European Union’s (EU) flag on several famous landmarks over the New Year.
To mark France becoming the latest EU member to take over its rotating six-month presidency, a number of landmarks displayed the blue and gold design of the EU flag.
These included the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame Cathedral.
In the case of the Arc de Triomphe, the French flag was temporarily removed and replaced with the EU’s version.
Ms Le Pen said “replacing” the French flag at the site was an attack on the country’s identity.
In a tweet, Ms Pécresse also objected to the position of the EU flag saying: “Preside over Europe yes, erase French identity no!”
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