Source: China Daily | 10-Dec-2021
Original link: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202112/10/WS61b2aae4a310cdd39bc7a83f.html
President Emmanuel Macron entered the 2022 French presidential election campaign on Wednesday when he warned against the folly of "manipulating history" for political gains in a clear message to far-right presidential contender Eric Zemmour, who joined the race for votes last week.
Macron took aim at Zemmour on a visit to the historically symbolic town of Vichy, which was the location of the French government's puppet regime after German occupation in 1940 during World War II, and which collaborated with the Nazis on deportation of Jews to death camps.
Zemmour has angered historians by claiming that collaborationist leader Marshall Philippe Petain saved, rather than condemned, French Jews, reported The Guardian.
Ahead of the trip, Macron said: "Vichy harks us back to our history. We have lived through this history, it is written by historians.
"Let us refrain from manipulating, agitating and revisiting it," he told local radio France Bleu.
The paper noted that Macron also said that it was "a good thing to allow historians to build up a truth built on documents and traces of the past" and that "France should honor those who fought to make it free".
Between 1940 and 1945, some 76,000 Jews were deported to camps from France, the Daily Telegraph said.
A government spokesperson, Gabriel Attal, said on Wednesday: "There are several visions of the history of France that are confronting each other in the public debate. Ours is the work of historians, on the basis of facts, documentation, research, and not based on personal whim and a will to use it for politics. Those who erase the crimes of the past are in some way justifying those of the future. On the contrary, we must learn from the past in all its complexity, including the darkest pages of our history."
Zemmour launched his bid to topple Macron in the April 2022 vote, in a video laced with anti-immigrant rhetoric, said the Agence France-Presse, or AFP.
In the video, Zemmour said: "It is no longer the time to reform France, but to save it. That's why I have decided to stand in the presidential election."
He added: "Immigration is not the cause of all our problems but it aggravates them all." He said that, if elected, he would slash the public debt and win back France's sovereignty "from European technocrats and judges".
AFP noted that although Zemmour's momentum appears to have slowed in recent weeks, opinion polls in September and October had showed him in position to oust Macron.
Macron has yet to officially declare his bid for a second term but is widely expected to do so early next year.
Zemmour's entry adds another element to the far-right campaign, alongside its traditional leader Marine Le Pen of the National Rally, reported the Politico news site.
A poll by Politico showed that if they formed an alliance, she and Zemmour would win a third of the electorate, which it said would trigger alarm for other candidates.