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Emmanuel Macron Presidential election 2017 French politics

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Macron unveils long-awaited presidential programme

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Emmanuel Macron at a rally in Anger, February 28, 2017. Reuters/Stephane Mahe

Parts of the centrist candidate’s platform, outlined in a document numbering around 30 pages, were published by French daily Le Parisien.


The former economy minister has made fighting nepotism in government one of the key aspects of his campaign.

The 39-year-old has proposed to make it illegal for MPs to employ family members as parliamentary assistants. This measure comes as rival right-wing candidate François Fillon faces accusations that his wife and children held “fake jobs” as parliamentary assistants. The allegation is that they were paid with public money for work they did not do. Macron revealed his plan one day after Fillon was charged in the scandal.

Another aspect of his plan to fight conflict of interest proposes banning members of parliament (MP) from serving as consultants and from sitting on company boards.

Employment

Macron hopes to tackle France’s unemployment by creating a universal unemployment benefits program. Farmers, independent workers, and employees who have quit their jobs would all be eligible for benefits.

Under the plan, however, unemployed individuals would not be able to receive benefits if they turn down more than two job offers, as long as the offers propose starting salaries that are no more than 20 percent less of their previous salary. This would mean that an unemployed individual who previously earned 1,000 euros a month would have to accept a second job offer paying 800 euros a month. If turned down, the individual would remain unemployed but would no longer be eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

He has also called for more government training programs.

Retirement

Macron has promised not to change the retirement age of 62. He has also called for universal retirement rules to apply equally to everyone, civil servants and employees of the private sector, regardless of work category.

Education

The former economy minister has said he wants to focus on primary education, by reducing class sizes in primary schools and hiring more teachers. Under the plan, school administrators and teachers would have more choice in implementing the teaching methods they feel are most effective.