French Presidential Candidate Calls for ‘Racists’ to Be Banned From Running for Office

Member of Parliament for the French Communist Party (PCF) Fabien Roussel poses during a photo session, in Paris, on May 25, 2021 (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP) (Photo by JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images)
JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images

French Communist Party (PCF) presidential candidate Fabien Roussel has called for those convicted of racism or hate crimes to be ineligible for public office.

Roussel stated that he wanted to strengthen the Gayssout Act, a law enacted in 1990 that outlawed both Holocaust denial and discrimination based upon ethnic origin, race, religion, or national origin.

“Today judges decide to make politicians ineligible [for public office], elected officials who have, for example, misappropriated funds, [and] I think we should have the same sanctions for incitement to racial hatred, for racism, for anti-Semitism,” he said, France Info reports.

“These are condemnations that undermine the values of the Republic, national cohesion, living together and it is therefore perhaps necessary to have a little more severity in this area,” Roussel added.

The Communist Party candidate went on to slam, “a big marketing operation around a character who has been convicted several times for incitement to racial hatred, for discrimination based on his religion, someone who rehabilitates Papon, who rehabilitates Pétain, who does historical revisionism,” in reference to conservative writer and fellow presidential candidate Eric Zemmour.

Zemmour, who has previously been convicted on hate crime charges, has become a leading candidate in French presidential election polling in recent weeks, with at least one first-round poll putting him ahead of populist National Rally leader Marine Le Pen, second only to President Emmanuel Macron.

Zemmour has become well-known in France both for his writing and his appearances on French television, in which he has consistently criticised mass migration and spoken out on topics such as demographic changes in France.

“In France, as in all Europe, all our problems are aggravated by immigration — schools, housing, unemployment, social deficits, public order, prisons — but all our problems are also aggravated by Islam. It’s double punishment,” Zemmour said at a conference in 2019.

These comments that led to a hate speech investigation, highlighting the danger that laws banning people from standing for election if they are convicted of racism or hate crimes could be used to exclude people critical of mass migration and multiculturalism from the democratic process.

While Zemmour has shot up in recent polls, some have put Mr Roussel at just two per cent of the vote, including one that put Zemmour at 18 per cent and Le Pen at 16 per cent.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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