France-Eurodput Gilbert Collard joins Eric Zemmour
(Updated with new statements by Gilbert Collard)
PARIS, Jan 21 (Reuters) – Former deputy for Gard and current European deputy for the National Rally (RN) Gilbert Collard announced on Saturday his support for Eric Zemmour, candidate for the presidential election in France.
The lawyer formalized his support for the far-right writer Cannes (Alpes-Martimes), where Eric Zemmour’s Reconquest movement was organizing a political rally on the theme of the union of the rights.
“I have absolutely nothing against Marine Le Pen and I will never say anything against her. I have nothing against yesterday’s friends of the National Rally, who remain my friends today, whether they like it or not”, declared Gilbert Collard on this occasion.
In an interview with France Bleu Gard Lozre, he had previously explained that he was leaving Marine Le Pen’s RN and joining Eric Zemmour because of the “ideas” carried by him.
“I’m leaving for reasons that are linked to what Eric Zemmour represents in this political fight. I join him for the ideas, I join him for the debate, for the taste of freedom,” said the MEP.
“I think that one day will come when Marine Le Pen will be like me, will join Eric Zemmour, because he has for him a dynamic which is historical courage, political courage.”
The departure of Gilbert Collard is the third defection in less than a week from the ranks of the National Rally after the departures of MEP Jrme Rivire and activist Damien Rieu, who was a collaborator of Gilbert Collard.
On his arrival in Cannes, Eric Zemmour declared: “The arrival of Gilbert Collard (…) first it was a friend who joined us, after Guillaume (Peltier), after Jrme (Rivire), after other , after Laurence Trochu, after Jean-Frdric Poisson.” “It is first of all a campaign of friendship, of camaraderie, it is a political symbol because you can see that all these people I have mentioned come from different political families but that in truth, they have since aspired ten years, for twenty years, for thirty years, coming together,” he added.
Reacting to the announced departure of Gilbert Collard, Louis Aliot, the RN mayor of Perpignan declared on BFMTV: “(Eric Zemmour) is today a bitter and jealous magnet, of course, but electorally speaking, in the opinion , I doubt he will bounce back and I even think that a number of his positions are worrying our readership at large.”
According to the Ipsos-Sopra Steria survey for “Le Monde”, Marine Le Pen (15.5% of the vote) and Valrie Pcresse (candidate of the party Les Rpublicains, LR) are neck and neck in terms of voting intentions at the presidential election against Emmanuel Macron (25%). The two candidates are each 2.5 points ahead of Eric Zemmour (13%), in fourth position. (Report Nicolas Delame, Claude Chendjou and Benjamin Mallet)