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Hollande govt left economic reforms 'half done', says ex-minister Macron

Patrick Kovarik/Martin Bureau, AFP | Former economy minister Emmanuel Macron (left) has criticised President François Hollande’s government.

Former economy minister Emmanuel Macron, who resigned from the French government on Tuesday, criticised President François Hollande’s government for not pushing hard enough for fiscal reforms in an interview published on Sunday.

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“I kept trying, proposing, pushing ... If you want to succeed you cannot leave work half done, and unfortunately many things were left half done. The choice was made not to launch a second wave of economic reforms that I was proposing,” he told Le Journal du Dimanche.

Macron, a 38-year-old former investment banker who is now being tipped as a possible contender in next year’s presidential election, quit his ministerial post on Tuesday to devote himself to the political party he set up in April – "En Marche!" (On the Move!) – saying he needed to be free “to transform France”.

Macron’s place in the government had become increasingly awkward after he repeatedly criticised left-wing totems, such as France’s 35-hour work week, and showed himself to be unafraid of pointing out France’s economic woes. He was also no longer a member of the ruling Socialist Party.

President François Hollande threatened in July to sack Macron unless he respects the "solidarity" of the government.

"In a government, there cannot be any personal initiatives and even less presidential ones," Hollande said. "Respecting these rules means staying in the government. Not respecting them means leaving."

In a tweet on Sunday, Macron wrote: "The problem is not that the French no longer trust politics, it is that politicians no longer trust the French."

Macron did not confirm in his latest interview if he would seek the French presidency in the 2017 election, as has been widely speculated.

A Macron bid for the presidency would further harm Hollande’s chances of re-election, with polls already suggesting the unpopular Hollande would be unlikely to make it into a run-off.

A new poll by Odoxa conducted from September 1-2 showed that 74 percent of French voters thought Macron was right to resign and 45 percent would like him to run in the election, up from 40 percent in June.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS and AFP)

Profile: Emmanuel Macron
Profile: Emmanuel Macron

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