A far-Right French TV pundit who says immigrants should be forced to have French names has overtaken Marine Le Pen for the first time in the presidential race, according to a new poll which suggest he would face Emmanuel Macron in a runoff for the Elysée in April next year, reports The Telegraph.
Eric Zemmour, 63, who holds convictions for inciting hatred, is threatening to upset the already unpredictable French political landscape with his diatribes against what he dubs the "great replacement" of white French by Muslims and the loss of French identity and traditional values, along with warnings of impending civil war.
He has siphoned off supporters of Ms Le Pen, who faced Macron in a run-off in 2017, and lies to the Right of her on the political spectrum, suggesting that French children born to immigrants should be forced to have French Christian names.
A Paris Match magazine cover shot of Mr Zemmour, who is married with three children, in an intimate embrace with a 28-year-old aide has only added to the media buzz around his potential presidential candidacy.
In response to the Paris Match story, Mr Zemmour tweeted: “It seems that I am beginning to cause enough worry for Paris Match, the poodle of the governing powers, to try to damage me. I will not be intimidated.”
The Harris Interactive poll published on Wednesday showed Mr Zemmour winning 17 per cent (up 4 points on a late September poll) of voter support, beating Ms Le Pen on 15 per cent and any one of the three challengers vying for the centre-right ticket.