| 6 October 2022, Thursday |

French EU lawmaker Collard to join far-right presidential candidate Zemmour

Gilbert Collard, a member of the European Parliament, will leave Marine Le Pen’s National Rally to join rival far-right presidential candidate Eric Zemmour, becoming the third Le Pen ally to do so in a week, according to French media on Saturday.

Last week, Jerome Riviere, the chairman of Le Pen’s National Rally group in the European Parliament, resigned to join Zemmour’s ranks, as did Damien Rieu, the legislative assistant to another National Rally EU representative.

Former TV talk show presenter Zemmour and Le Pen are battling for the far-right support in the April election, trying to defeat President Emmanuel Macron.

For several weeks last year, opinion polls indicated that Zemmour – who has been convicted several times for inciting racial hatred – had a chance of placing second in the presidential poll and facing Macron in a run-off. His campaign has since lost some steam and he now polls fourth.

National Rally (RN) officials played down Collard’s departure, saying it would not affect Le Pen’s presidential bid.

“We did not see much support from Collard to Marine’s campaign and at any rate, the polls show that she is the one who can beat Macron,” RN spokesman Philippe Ballard said on BFM television.

Opinion polls put Macron in the lead, followed by Le Pen or conservative challenger Valerie Pecresse.

BFM reported that Collard will join Zemmour at a campaign rally in Cannes later on Saturday.

“Gilert (Collard) may be there tonight, we will see,” Zemmour said on BFM.

  • Reuters