French voters shared their gushing tributes to Eric Zemmour who is quickly rising up the French election polls after standing on a more extreme and nationalistic ticket than his closest political rival, Marine Le Pen. Despite not officially a candidate yet, polls put Mr Zemmour only a few points behind Ms Le Pen as his notoriety grows. Fans of the political outsider warmed to his love of France and his defence of French culture as some brand Mr Zemmour the “French Trump” who could upset Emmanuel Macron‘s hopes of reelection.
Voters were interviewed by Channel 4 News with one supporter explaining Mr Zemmour was defending France for the French.
She recalled the “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” motto of France but stressed Mr Zemmour was protecting everyone.
A pair of supporters were asked why they liked the politician and explained: “His sincerity, he is an intellectual, he knows France’s problems, he loves France.”
Another added: “We are patriots, we love France, we are republicans, we have a history and we love our history.”
Mr Zemmour’s support stems from upper-working to middle-class demographics who are concerned about the migrant crisis and the effect it will have on French culture.
A far-right politician, Mr Zemmour has written extensively about “replacement theory” which discusses the native French population being replaced by foreign nationalities.
The French presidential candidate appears to have filled the political gap left by Ms Le Pen who has moved her politics to be more moderate after her defeat in the last presidential election.
Ms Le Pen had been tipped to be a strong contender to Mr Macron in the second round of French votes but Mr Zemmour appears to be gaining ground.
France has had a pressing political issue involving integrating Muslims into their society with voters concerned about the cultural divide.
Several terror attacks have rocked the country with Mr Macron coming under pressure from right-wing voters to crack down on Islamic terrorism.
Ms Le Pen is the leader of the French National Rally party which historically has been eurosceptic, anti-immigration, and has had ties to the far-right.
However, after learning from her defeat in 2017, Ms Le Pen has sought to distance herself from the far-right elements of her party and has toned down extremist rhetoric.
Political pundits suggest due to the looming Afghan refugee crisis, Ms Le Pen may see a positive uptick in her support for her 2022 presidential election campaign.