PARIS — He is the anti-immigration son of parents from Algeria. He styles himself as the great defender of France’s Christian civilization, though he himself is Jewish. He channels Donald J. Trump in an anti-establishment campaign. And he is now scrambling the battle lines before France’s presidential election in April.
The meteoric rise of Éric Zemmour, a far-right author and TV pundit, has turned France’s politics upside down.
Until a few weeks ago, most had expected France’s next presidential elections to be a predictable rematch between President Emmanuel Macron and the far-right Marine Le Pen that, polls showed, left voters who wanted alternatives deeply dissatisfied.
Though still not a declared candidate, Mr. Zemmour, 63, shot to No. 2 in a poll of likely voters last week, disrupting campaign strategies across the board, even beyond those of Mr. Macron and Ms. Le Pen.
Pascal Perrineau, a political scientist at Sciences Po University specializing in elections and the right.
Mr. Perrineau warned that voters were not seriously focused yet on the elections and that polls could be volatile.
Yet candidates are not taking any chances.
Mr. Macron’s campaign has focused on winning support on the right and forcing a showdown with Ms. Le Pen, in the belief that the French would reject her party in the second round of voting, as they have for decades.
Now it is far
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