PARIS (Reuters) -French far-right pundit Eric Zemmour, who made a failed bid for president in elections last month, said on Thursday he would run for a seat in parliament in the June 12-19 elections.
“I will lead our beautiful and big fight,” Zemmour said in a tweet, adding that he would run for a seat in the Var region around the Mediterranean resort town of Saint-Tropez.
He said his party Reconquete (Reconquest) will present 550 candidates in June – out of France’s 577 constituencies.
Zemmour came fourth with 7.07% of the vote in the first round of the April election, well behind far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who came second with 23.15%.
French left and far-left parties have formed a coalition for the parliamentary elections, hoping to boost the number of seats they each can win, but Zemmour and Le Pen are not joining forces and have continued to trade barbs in recent weeks.
Separately, a French court on Thursday acquitted Zemmour of charges linked to “denying crimes against humanity” after he said that Philippe Petain, France’s government chief during the Second World War, was a “saviour” of France’s Jews.
A higher court in Paris confirmed the acquittal arising from televised remarks from 2019 when Zemmour – then a famous chat show pundit – claimed that Petain’s policies during the war protected French Jews, BFM TV and news agency AFP reported.
Petain’s administration, based in the unoccupied part of the country known as Vichy France, collaborated with Nazi Germany in the deportation and extermination of Jews.
Thursday’s decision upheld a lower court ruling which said that, while Zemmour had whitewashed Petain’s role, his remarks were off the cuff and only briefly touched on the topic while the debate was focused elsewhere, and so did not justify a conviction.
Zemmour’s comments, however, stirred outrage among political lobby groups and led to a criminal investigation.
Earlier this year, another French court fined Zemmour for inciting racial hatred over remarks also made on live television in which he called young migrants killers, thieves and rapists.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau, GV De Clercq, Tassilor Hummel and Juliette Portala, editing by Ingrid Melander and Barbara Lewis)