French minister of the economy quits, clearing way for presidential run

PARIS, Aug. 30 (UPI) — French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron resigned Tuesday, clearing the way for a possible run for president in next year’s election.

Macron, 38, resigned his post “to dedicate himself entirely to his political movement” of “En Marche” (On the Move), according to a statement released by the French presidential office. The statement said French Finance Minister Michel Sapin will also take over the duties of running the Economy Ministry.

Macron didn’t specifically say whether he would challenge Hollande.

“Today I am choosing to be free and responsible — free to speak, propose and act; responsible for a new offering that should build new hope,” Macron told a news conference after his resignation.

The first round of presidential elections are eight months away.

“I am determined to do everything so that our values, our ideas and our principle are able to transform France as soon as next year,” Macron said.

Macron, a former banker, was appointed by Francois Hollande in 2014 after serving as one of his top economic advisers during his successful 2012 presidential campaign.

But Macron has challenged some off France’s socialist policies. He opposes France’s 35-hour work week, and blamed high unemployment and weak economic growth on a lack of competition.

His decision to allow shops to open more often on Sundays drew protests and he upset trade unions with more radical labor reforms and backing entrepreneurs.

But he has the support of the young and cosmopolitan — what Le Monde terms the “winners from globalization.”

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