Another 100 people were standing in line outside the stadium when the doors closed. Not bad for a man who has not yet officially announced his candidacy.
Eric Seymour shakes up before the start of the French presidential election.
His rally in the small town of Beziers in southern France sent a disturbing picture to the French far-right Marine Le Pen. Polls show he is on the right track to challenge the leadership of the nationalist leadership in France.
The child of Algerian Jewish immigrants, Seymour has long drawn attention to his controversial views – for example, that French Jews were protected by the government during World War II. In fact, during the war the French Vichy regime sent thousands of French Jews and Jewish refugees to Nazi death camps.
Today, he says, France was “invaded” by immigrants, and parents should be forced to give their children “French names”.
His speech at Beziers targeted the French education system – “infiltrated by the ideologies of Marxism, racism and the LGBT,” he said.
As for the French media, he sees them as “a propaganda machine that hates France”.
“Your taxes are paid for and they constantly spit on you,” he said. “They spit out French history and culture, and they spit on the French people they want to disappear.”
If the language is violent, it is not unexpected. Many in the audience knew him as a television presenter and commentator for the French right-wing C-News.
In the front row was Christian, who had arrived by car with family from a nearby town. He told me that they had never attended a political rally and that they did not belong to any political party.
But they loved Eric Gemmer
“He says it that way,” Christian explained. He is (below the other politicians) below earth. He is active in the French presidential election. I think he’s like Boris Johnson. “
After the rally, Mr. I asked how Seymour would view Franco-British relations if he were president of France.
“I respect the British,” he said. “They are a great people, they deserve respect. I think the European Commission in Brussels did not respect them. They never forgave them for Brexit.”
Beziers Marine Le Pen’s playground. He won here in the last presidential election, but since Eric Seymour won the election, he dived. In a recent poll, he was beaten to face President Macron in the second round.
After years of “poisoning” his party to attract a wider audience, Le Pen faces a challenge from the right.
But it’s not just Le Pen supporters who are at Beziers tonight.
Gerrard told me he did not vote for Marine Le Pen.
“I was very interested in Macron,” he said. “But he’s not good enough on the security issue. Chemor is attracting me now – I’m a little different!”
President Macron has lost the support of the left over the past five years because he responded to growing concerns about security and immigration and sought to win over the center-right.
The mayor of Beziers, Robert Maynard, is politically close to Marine Le Pen – he and Gemmer are friends.
Mr Emmanuel urged them to unite to confront Macron. Munard told me.
“I explained to Eric: ‘You can’t win without Marine Le Pen, it’s impossible.’ I said to Marine: ‘You can’t win without Eric’,” he said. “The factions should not lead our side to defeat. Once we can win.”
Despite all the attention sparked by Gemmer’s rapid rise, neither he nor Marine Le Pen have so far shown any opinion on defeating President Macron in the presidential election. Marine Le Pen received a disappointing result in the regional election earlier this year.
Nevertheless, French politics has shifted to the right in recent years. And politicians, from Macron to Le Pen, intend to share the pie.
Les Republicans, the main right-wing party in France, has not yet chosen a candidate, which is a sign of the split.
The last presidential election redefined the political map, excluding the two major parties.
It almost destroyed the Socialists; Many in the Republican Party, if they are not careful, worry that this time they are.
Meanwhile, it is not Gemmor-Macron or Le Pen who dominates media coverage in France.
It’s still early days, the official campaign will only start in months, but the competition for the future of France has already begun.
* Article published by the British Channel BBC News site
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