Far-right pundit to launch campaign for French presidency

PARIS (AP) — A far-right former TV pundit with multiple hate-speech convictions was poised Tuesday to officially enter the race for France’s presidency, having already shaken it up with his anti-immigration and anti-Islam invective.

Eric Zemmour’s supporters said the essayist, who has climbed in the polls despite having no hands-on political experience, would announce his candidacy around midday.

The 63-year-old polemist, who is sometimes likened in France to former U.S. President Donald Trump, would be running in the April election against the as-yet undeclared President Emmanuel Macron and a spectrum of other candidates from far-left to far-right.

The expected launch would make official a campaign that has been gathering steam for month, but which also stumbled of late — notably after Zemmour raised a middle finger at a woman who did likewise to him last weekend.

He later acknowledged on Twitter that the obscene gesture was “very inelegant.” The flash of temper cast fresh doubt on the temperament and presidential credentials of the author and former journalist who has drawn comparison to Trump because of his rabble-rousing populism and ambitions of making the jump from the small screen to a seat of power.