Eric Zemmour pulls out all the stops, in Toulon, so as not to sink

Published on March 07, 2022 at 09:58 – Updated on March 08, 2022 at 11:22

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FactualWith the rallying of Marion Maréchal and his retreat from Ukrainian refugees, the far-right candidate for the 2022 presidential election is trying to stop his slide.
An abyss of nostalgia. In Toulon, in the Var, on Sunday March 6, nearly 8,000 supporters gathered at the Zénith saw Eric Zemmour's campaign film scroll through, in a series of already idealized memories, with messages of thanks from their idol: " I love you. “A chapter” closes, the “last straight line” begins, he launched on stage. But this meeting with its effervescent atmosphere seemed to be played out of time. It should have been a highlight of the campaign; it was only broadcast on YouTube, due to a temporarily consumed speaking time, and revealed the defensive posture of the nationalist champion, who described himself "in the storm".
Eric Zemmour visits the Mourillon market in Toulon in the Var before his meeting, France, March 6, 2022. AGNES DHERBEYS / MYOP FOR "THE WORLD"
Almost six months since Eric Zemmour hosted, in Toulon already, his first campaign meeting, during a meeting that did not yet say his name. On September 17, 2021, the polemicist planned to "inoculate [his] will to the French people". Thirty-four days before the election, the now populist tribune takes stock, congratulating himself on having offered "the priceless gift" to the French "of no longer being ashamed of thinking what they think". And throws itself body and soul into a battle of credibility far from being won.
According to the polls, Eric Zemmour is not the best placed to beat Emmanuel Macron, and has unscrewed since the start of the war in Ukraine. He admits to being "jostling" and "surprised by the story", to ensure that "even when the winds are capricious, the course is the right one". The militant atmosphere has also changed. The mocking quizzes against “leftist tears” have given way to a game on the trade deficit or the budget of the armies, much more arid.
Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers The major effects of the war in Ukraine on the electoral game
Even the long embrace of Eric Zemmour and Marion Maréchal looked like an ultimate trump card dedicated to reviving momentum. Bad luck, a young man had just given a Nazi salute in front of the cameras – he was immediately expelled, according to the campaign team. The rally did not have the flavor expected, despite the efforts of Philippe de Villiers, sculpting the legend of an apparition "blonde like a mermaid" walking on the Mediterranean towards Zemmour… More prosaic, Jean-Marie Le Pen minimized, this week, "an epiphenomenon". Opening his old Larousse of 1972, the birth date of the National Front, he detailed: “Marion is “what is added to the Zemmour phenomenon without reacting on it”. From the point of view of electoral impact, of course. »
Activists at Eric Zemmour's meeting, in Toulon in the Var, France on March 6, 2022. AGNES DHERBEYS / MYOP FOR "THE WORLD"

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