January 2019. In a packed room at the headquarters of the Republicans, Laurent Wauquiez receives Éric Zemmour for a conference on his latest book “French Destiny” (Albin Michel). ” You are home. Eric is at home here! »Acclaims the one who is then the president of LR. The word of welcome did not fall on deaf ears. Two and a half years later, the CNews star is now eyeing the LR electorate, who is wondering about a possible presidential candidacy. “Those who say he has no political space because Marine Le Pen is high in the polls have understood nothing. The strategy is that of Sarkozy in 2007: to start from the Republican right and then to widen towards voters who left for the RN ”, assures a close friend of Zemmour.
In the light of this reflection, the observation that “these are LR networks that are set in motion” with a view to an application. This is not always true. Several relatives of Marion Maréchal are very active and the Bompard family, at the initiative of the jesignepourzemmour petition, is anchored in the landscape of the most traditional far right. But it is true that the association of financing of the party Les Amis d’Éric Zemmour was created by two collaborators of elected LR, while the association of the friends of Éric Zemmour is chaired by the business manager, François Miramont, from the ranks of the center. “By creating the association, I expected a lot of far-right people to join me. Which I didn’t like. But in fact, they are mainly people of LR or the right “, testifies this former parliamentary assistant to the senator, Michel Mercier.
PODCAST. Eric Zemmour, portrait of a polemicist with political aims
“The 20% of Fillon have not disappeared”, convinces the entourage of Eric Zemmour, not unhappy that Politico has made public the information according to which the essayist tried (in vain) to take Patrick Stefanini, craftsman of François Fillon’s campaign, as a possible campaign manager. According to our information, it is Samuel Lafont, former member of the civil society pole of François Fillon’s campaign and a known figure in the “réacosphere”, who has been in charge of Eric’s now very active social networks for about a month. Zemmour. Like Sarah Knafo, an enarque close to the polemicist, Samuel Lafont is a former executive of the student union UNI which operates in the right orbit of LR.
“Many of our former activists revolve around this candidacy”, observes Olivier Vial, president of UNI. Among them, the former national delegate Antoine Diers, now chief of staff to the mayor LR of Plessis-Robinson, who has been bringing local LR elected officials to Éric Zemmour for a few weeks. “The grassroots LR activists are lost, disillusioned and there is Eric Zemmour. It gives rise to hope among those who think that it deals with the real subjects of immigration and insecurity and that the RN is more a family SME than a political party, ”he ignites.
Towards a right-wing primary?
But how to understand that the radical Eric Zemmour, favorable to the theory of the “great replacement” and to the “remigration”, condemned several times in justice for his remarks, could seduce more within the right than a Marine Le Pen, in the less uninhibited speech? “His career in Figaro, what he releases means that he has perhaps a stronger potential in the voter LR than RN. Through his intellectual courage, he can also mobilize disillusioned abstainers, ”replied Marion Maréchal to the Parisian Today in France. “He holds the road on economic subjects, he believes in the company, in meritocracy more than in the assistantship and he speaks more to the elderly, concerned about the continuity of French history”, analyzes Senator LR , Sébastien Meurant, who does not hide his sympathy for a candidacy of Eric Zemmour that he sees alone or with other elected officials.
Now, some LR parliamentarians even call on the polemicist to participate in a right-wing primary. Like the senator from the Rhône, Étienne Blanc or the deputy, Julien Aubert who, in L’Express, notes that “for Zemmour, voters disappointed by LR are the easiest to convince” since they “do not have of candidate LR ”and can therefore“ go to him ”. “For the moment, only a few isolated LR cases are mobilizing for Zemmour. But everything will depend on who will represent the right in 2022. If it is Wauquiez or Bertrand, it is not the same thing, ”observes an elected official from the right wing of LR.
Even Marine Le Pen now seems to take over the analysis. “A Zemmour candidacy would sting more at Nicolas Dupont-Aignan and LR, who made him their idol at one time,” she slips. So why not wish for a Zemmour candidacy? “I wouldn’t want to spend my time saying I don’t agree with him,” she sighs in advance.