A far-right former TV pundit with multiple hate-speech convictions is poised to officially enter the race for France’s presidency.
Eric Zemmour has already shaken up the race with his anti-immigration and anti-Islam invective.
Supporters said the essayist, who has climbed in the polls despite having no hands-on political experience, will announce his candidacy around midday.
The 63-year-old polemicist, who has sometimes been likened in France to former US president Donald Trump, would be running in the April election against the as-yet undeclared incumbent Emmanuel Macron and a spectrum of other candidates from far-left to far-right.
The expected launch would make official a campaign that has been gathering steam for months, but which has also stumbled of late – notably after Mr Zemmour raised a middle finger at a woman who did likewise to him last weekend.
He later acknowledged on Twitter that the obscene gesture was “very inelegant”.
The flash of temper cast fresh doubt on the temperament and presidential credentials of the author and former journalist who has been compared to Mr Trump because of his rabble-rousing populism and ambitions of making the jump from the small screen to a seat of power.