French left-wing icon Taubira joins crowded presidential race

The progressive icon from the territory of French Guiana in South America is running for the French presidential election in April

Christina Taubira has only weak support in the polls, but is admired by many for her work for social justice and her support for a French law that recognizes the slave trade as a crime against humanity. She last ran for president in 2002 and was the first black woman in France to do so, receiving just 2.3 percent of the vote.

“I want to play my part … against hate speech and together to tackle new challenges,” she said in announcing her candidacy to supporters in the city of Lyon. “I hear outrage in the face of discrimination.”

Taubira, a former justice minister and former MEP, has pledged to provide all young people with 800 euros ($913) a month for five years, raising the minimum wage and introducing zero taxes on organic products, among other measures.

Zemmour faces sentencing at trial Monday on charges of inciting racial hatred by calling underage immigrants thieves, murderers and rapists.

French President Emmanuel Macron, a centrist who is widely expected to run for re-election, is currently leading in opinion polls, although many voters remain undecided.

Taubira wanted the once mighty French left to unite. But with several left-wing presidential candidates already in the running, her candidacy could further divide it.

Other presidential candidates include far-left agitator Jean-Luc Mélenchon, socialist Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Green Party candidate Yannick Jado and conservative Republican candidate Valerie Pecqueres.