22:31 GMT26 January 2020
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    France's former Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday his long-expected bid to run for president next spring.

    PARIS (Sputnik) — "I'm ready," Macron, who resigned from his post in September, said in a televised address at an education center in the town of Bobigny northeast of Paris that was broadcast by BFMTV.

    "I'm a candidate for the Republic's presidency because I believe more than anything that we can succeed, that France can succeed… I want to bring France into the 21st century, I want my country to stand up and find the thread of our millennial history," Macron said, calling his decision to stand in elections "the result of an intimate and deep conviction."

    One of France's most popular politicians and once very successful investment banker, 38-year-old Macron joined the Socialist government in 2014, left the economy ministry this summer, and has since sharply criticized President Francois Hollande's administration.

    "This system – I refuse it," he said.

    He is not a member of the party, is not an elected politician and has no party apparatus behind him. In the past, Macron has suggested that France should scrap wealth tax, said that the Socialists' sacred 35-hour week was not sacred and could be reformed and proposed to give civil servants performance-related pay.

    The bid for presidency widely expected since May when Macron formed his "En Marche" movement was met with criticism by politicians from all spectrum even before Macron made an official statement.

    "My conviction is that the French will not entrust their destiny to someone who has no experience, and especially who has not demonstrated anything yet," Francois Fillon, a former prime minister and a contender for presidency from the opposition Republican Party, said on Wednesday on RTL.

    Arnaud Montebourg, another candidate for presidency seeking to get Socialist Party nomination, called Macron, who succeeded him in 2014 at the economy ministry’s helm, "a candidate of the media" and "Mister X," indicating that little is known about Macron’s proposals on managing the country.

    Front National vice-president Florian Philippot also admitted Macron’s ease with the press, suggesting he would be "very marketing candidate, a media darling and magazine cover favorite" but added speaking at the Radio Classique that his candidacy "will be added to an ultra-liberal, Europeanist niche, which is already completely saturated" in the presidential election.

    Macron is pitted against front-runners Alain Juppe and Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as Marine Le Pen. Le Pen's National Front party's rising poll numbers amid anti-migrant sentiment has the potential to disrupt the establishment in the footsteps of the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom and Donald Trump's victory in the United States.


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    Florian Philippot, Francois Fillon, Arnaud Montebourg, Francois Hollande, Emmanuel Macron, France
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