France's far-right figure announces presidential run

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With ominous music and footage of street violence, France's far-right pundit Eric Zemmour announced his candidacy for president in a video posted on social media on Tuesday (November 30).

"It is no longer time to reform France, but to save it. That's why I decided to run for president; I have therefore decided to ask for your votes to become your president."

Zemmour is a former journalist who has been convicted of inciting racial hatred.

He is the top contender to challenge Marine Le Pen, leader of the more established far-right National Rally, for a place in a second round against President Emmanuel Macron.

Zemmour's hardline criticism of Islam and immigration has drawn support both from Le Pen's voter base and from the mainstream conservative right.

But it has also alienated some voters that Le Pen had long sought to reassure.

A Harris Interactive poll published on Tuesday - with people surveyed before Zemmour confirmed his candidacy - show his support was down three to four percentage point.

Other surveys also show he has shocked some voters with provocative comments, from saying children shouldn't be given foreign-sounding names, to claiming the French government of Philippe Petain, which collaborated with the Nazis during World War Two, had protected Jews.

French media say he has lost the backing of some high-profile supporters.

At this stage, most opinion polls forecast that Macron and Le Pen will face each other in the second round next April, which Macron would likely win - in a repeat of the 2017 election.

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