Jacques Cheminade, an independent, is one of 10 candidates who has been cleared by France’s Constitutional Court to run in the April 22nd first round of the battle to unseat incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy.
It ought to be a tough list to get on — former prime minister Dominique de Villepin and several other leading figures failed to make the cut — but little known Cheminade was one of the first to gather 500 mayors’ signatures.
Few in France have any idea what Cheminade stands for, as he represents no political party and has a low media profile.
But, now that the campaign proper has begun, French broadcasting fairness laws require he be given as much exposure as any other candidate, such as Sarkozy or opinion poll frontrunner and Socialist champion François Hollande.
Thus, Cheminade appeared on LCP television Wednesday, in a debate sponsored by AFP and other French media. He was asked about his support for US extremist Lyndon Larouche, a notorious conspiracy theorist.
In particular, he was asked whether the Queen is a drugs baroness.
“No, not all her fortune,” he replied. “There are many other sources, but it’s a series of trafficking operations within which, yes, there were drugs.”
Cheminade linked this claim to allegations about the Rothschild banking family, and compared the economic crisis to “the start of the Nazi regime and the measures it gradually put in place, as in the United States today.”
Voting will not begin for four weeks, but opinion polls track Cheminade’s support at less than one percent, or within the margin of error.