The soaraway, undeclared, French, presidential campaign by the racist pundit Eric Zemmour is no longer soaring. A fourth opinion poll in ten days shows a small drop in support for Zemmour (who is in London tomorrow 👀) 1/4…
The Opinonway poll for Les Echos and Cnews (the right wing TV channel where Zemmour used to pontificate nightly) shows him dropping to 12% of voting intentions  before the first round next April 2/4
This is only a 1 point fall on last month but four different polls in a row have now shown Zemmour falling by 1 to 2 points after an unbroken rise in Sept and Oct (reaching as high as 18% in one survey) 3/4
Other scores: @EmmanuelMacron is stable on 24-25%; Marine Le Pen rises slightly to 19-21%; Xavier Bertrand on 13% is the strongest of the contenders in the closed centre-right primary on 4 Dec. Michel Barnier scores only 9%. The Left: still nowhere

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More from @Mij_Europe

19 Nov
Momentum towards Article 16 has gone. If anything, it’s now in reverse.  Johnson and Frost are now going to call it in the new year. See where negotiations and land lies in January 1/
This is purely about political context. As one Tory MP says, “Article 16 has to be done from a position of strength but Boris is suddenly in a much weaker state. He could have done it at Conference when he was riding high. The whole party would have rallied behind him.. ” 2/
“Now it would look like a desperate diversionary tactic.” But even though steam has gone out of it, this phase could prove to be tactical - until @BorisJohnson has less on his plate. It's doubtful there has been a major change of heart in UKG regarding Protocol 3/
Read 6 tweets
11 Nov
Overwhelmed by frequency & variations of French polls? Huff Post has performed a public service by averaging leading polls over many months. It has arranged trends into a fascinating, moving graphic showing changing configurations of the major players 1/…
Key points. President Macron has been floating ahead of the pack in first round voting intentions for several months on 23 to 25 %. The only major change has been the rise of the racist pundit Eric Zemmour, who shot from 5% to 17%  in a couple of weeks, taking votes mostly.. 2/
... but not entirely from Marine Le Pen and overtaking  her  in some polls. Zemmour has stopped rising in the last month, however, and now averages 17.5%, just ahead of MLP 3/
Read 4 tweets
9 Nov
To dissuade UKG from triggering Article 16, EU is drawing up a package of short/medium term retaliatory measures which cd be put to @DavidGHFrost by @MarosSefcovic on Fri. As one senior official says: "In order to avoid escalation, you have to demonstrate escalation dominance" 1/
Imp, while EU's package will likely include medium-term plans to suspend TCA, it could also incl options for short-term tariff retaliation BEFORE arbitration proceedings. (Assumption to date has been tariffs wd require conclusion of infringement procedure or arbitration panel) 2/
There will be lots of nuances & legal complexities, but EU side believes certain provisions within TCA - especially Articles 506 & 773 - would enable swifter, more immediate tariff retaliation. While 506 primarily relates to fish, it can be used by EU to threaten escalation..
Read 7 tweets
7 Nov
It will still be a bit of time before Govt notifies EU on A16. Suspect early Dec. Not because UKG thinks negs w/EU might still deliver. It doesn't. But bc it wants to ensure A16 move is as legally watertight as possible - domestically & internationally 1/…
This will take a bit of time. Domestically - as @pmdfoster first reported, AG @SuellaBraverman (don't forget, a former chair of the hardline Brexiteer ERG) has asked for wide range of legal opinions from outside Govt in hope she can give Article 16 move her seal of approval 2/
If domestic legislation is required, ministers hope they can rely on secondary legislation (= only a vote in Commons & Lords) rather than primary legislation (= a Bill needing to clear many more hurdles.. first, second, third reading, committee & report stages etc) 3/
Read 5 tweets
5 Nov
The UK is going to invoke Article 16. They'll argue it's surgical - "it's only Articles 5 & 7" etc. But EU will (rightly) see it as nuclear

I expect no intermediate step (tariffs). Just an immediate, emergency EU Council & political decision to *suspend* the UK-EU trade deal 1/
This, which is = "No deal", won't come into effect until 2023 (+ 1yr). Put differently: next year will see a re-run of Brexit (renegotiation of Irish border issue, with threat of no deal tariffs looming in the background). Can you actually believe we're heading back there??! 2/
Some say @BorisJohnson will bottle it & do a deal. Maybe. But the gaps between the two sides are massive, not just on ECJ. For eg: UKG officials say they can't stand up @EU_Commission claim that its proposals substantially reduce burden on biz trading GB-NI by 80% 3/
Read 8 tweets
4 Nov
.@DavidGHFrost & @CBeaune will meet in Paris today to talk fish. What's the latest state of play & mood on 🐟? 1/
Senior UKG officials remain of the view the evidence presented by Fr Govt remains weak - despite low threshold test they're being asked to meet (in English waters, evidence of fishing at least one day in each of the four years between 2012-16) 2/
The UKG also doesn't want to be seen to be responding to blackmail (choking Calais-Dover strait; in past, threats to interrupt electricity supply to Jersey). There's also a belief that other member states (& Commission) don't fully support the French 3/
Read 7 tweets

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