As compared to Nigel Farage, Mr Zemmour has yet to stand for election in next year’s elections. But according to Politico he travels to London to meet some Tory MPs, although the latter’s identity is still unknown.
The right-wing commentator whose popularity and incendiary rhetoric about Islam and immigration shape France’s presidential election is due to appear in court today on charges of inciting racial hatred.
The case concerns comments Zemmour, who has not officially announced his candidacy for the April 2022 vote, made last year when he called unaccompanied minor migrants “thieves, murderers and rapists”.
Zemmour’s lawyer, Olivier Pardo, said opponents were trying to initiate a “trial by public opinion” and the charges against the 63-year-old writer were baseless.
“He is wanted for ‘racial hatred,’ but to my knowledge an unaccompanied minor is not a race, nation or ethnicity,” Pardo told RMC Radio.
Zemmour, a polarizing figure who has made a career of pushing the boundaries of political correctness, has eaten up the voter base of both Marine Le Pen’s more established far-right Rassemblement National party and the mainstream conservative right.
Some opinion polls show he is ahead of Le Pen in the race for a place in the second round of voting.
Challengers to the traditional center-right party’s nomination have responded by sharpening their language on immigration and identity.
The French broadcasting regulator handed over a €200,000 fine in March to the right-wing broadcaster CNews, which broadcast Zemmour’s migrant comments.
“Everything is ready. I just have to decide and press the button. I decide when and how.
“There are a lot of people who want me to be a presidential candidate, a lot of people who want me to be president of the republic.
“I’m not going to let these people down.
“I want to choose my moment, I want to choose my date, I want to choose how I will say it, so it’s me who will decide.”
An Ifop-Fiducial poll for newspaper Le Figaro and TV station LCI, published by BFM TV, showed Zemmour would win 17 percent of the vote in the first round, well behind Macron at 25 percent but just ahead of Le Pen at 16. percent, with conservative Xavier Bertrand getting 13 percent support if he wins the primaries for the Les Republicains party.
For more than a year, polls have shown Rassemblement National party leader Marine Le Pen easily made it to the second round, setting her up for a repeat of the 2017 election, when she won 21.3 percent of the vote in round one but lost to Macron’s 66.1 percent in round two.
But last month, two polls showed Mr Zemmour jumped to second place for the first time, ahead of Ms Le Pen, whose RN party dominated France’s far-right party for decades.
A Harris Interactive poll on Oct. 6 showed the talk show host won 17 percent in the first round, four points more than a late September poll and 15 percent ahead of Le Pen.
An October 22 poll by Ipsos Sopra Steria also put Mr Zemmour in the second round, taking 16-16.5 percent in the first round against 15-16 percent for Ms Le Pen.