France's Macron seeks new horizon, hints at presidential bid

2016-08-31 21:30
Emmanuel Macron (File, AP).

Emmanuel Macron (File, AP).

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Paris — Potential French presidential contender Emmanuel Macron says he's leaving his job as economy minister because he wants to take new risks, after a tenure marked by controversial labour reforms.

The media-savvy former investment banker hasn't formally announced a bid for next year's presidential elections, but is strongly suggesting one.

In handing over powers on Wednesday to Finance Minister Michel Sapin, Macron said, "today's circumstances require taking risks". He said he's "taking to the sea with a clear course and the determination to take this risk".

Macron has previously said he will use the political movement he created this year to build a programme aimed at "changing the country”.

Sapin, a longtime ally of President Francois Hollande, is taking over both the economy and finance ministries. He said he'd continue to pursue reforms, but also insisted on the importance of leftist ideals.

Critics say Macron betrayed those ideals by rolling back some labour protections.

"I don't understand how one can quit at such a difficult time for the French," Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said on RTL radio on Wednesday.

Junior minister Jean-Marie Le Guen, in charge of the relations with the parliament, said on LCI television said he has "some doubts" about whether Macron will be able to achieve his goal.

Government spokesperson Stephane Le Foll said Hollande called on his government to continue to work in a "collective" way at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. "Much remains to be done," Hollande added.

Read more on:    france

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