The Latest: Macron wants to cut parliament down to size
PARIS (AP) – The Latest on the French presidential election campaign (all times local):
Amid growing French political scandals, centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron wants to shrink the size of parliament, introduce term limits – and ban officials from hiring their family members.
Independent centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron addresses the media during a press conference held in Paris, Thursday, March 2, 2017. With just 52 days left before French voters choose their president, the man leading polls is only now releasing his campaign platform. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
In releasing his presidential platform Thursday, he said he wants to "eradicate conflicts of interest."
Two of Macron’s chief rivals for the April-May two-round vote – conservative Francois Fillon and far-right leader Marine Le Pen – are facing corruption investigations. Macron, a 39-year-old who has never held elected office, is presenting himself as a fresh face without political baggage.
His platform calls for cutting the size of both houses of parliament by a third, banning lawmakers from consulting activity and banning all officials from employing family members.
Centrist French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron says the remaining 27 European Union members must vigorously defend their single market in talks with Britain on its exit.
Macron, in presenting his platform Thursday, also urged efforts to reinvigorate the eurozone and closer European cooperation. He said the EU cannot survive "without a real European strategy" and called for a "new impulse for the single market."
Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen wants to pull France out of the EU and eurozone, and there has been growing anti-EU sentiment in many countries since Britain’s vote to leave.
Polls suggest Macron and Le Pen may face off in the May 7 presidential runoff.
Independent French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron wants an international "roadmap" to better fight Islamic extremism from the Mideast to Africa.
In releasing his presidential platform Thursday, Macron also called for increased military spending to 2 percent of GDP – as U.S. and other NATO allies have long demanded.
He would hire 10,000 more police and create 15,000 more places in prison and boost efforts to improve relations between police and minority youths in poor suburbs.
Macron’s critics on the right have called him too soft on security. Polls suggest he could face far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who has made fighting Islamic extremism central to her campaign, in the May 7 presidential runoff.
With just 52 days left before French voters choose their president, the man leading polls is only now releasing his campaign platform.
Until now, Emmanuel Macron has risen to popularity largely based on what he is not – he’s neither left nor right, he has no party, and he’s the only top contender not facing corruption investigations.
Macron lays out his platform Thursday on an upswing, as pressure mounts on conservative rival Francois Fillon, facing charges that he arranged taxpayer-funded jobs for his family that they never performed.
Denying wrongdoing, Fillon vowed Wednesday to pursue his candidacy even if he’s charged, but is now struggling to keep his party from falling apart.
Polls suggest Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen will be the top two vote-getters in the April 23 first round and advance to the May 7.
French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron poses next to the cow Fine, symbol of the 2017 Agriculture Fair in Paris, Wednesday, March 1, 2017. The first French presidential ballot will take place on April 23 and the two top candidates go into a runoff on May 7. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) Conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon delivers his speech at his campaign headquarters in Paris, Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Fillon is refusing to quit the race despite receiving a summons Wednesday to face charges for alleged fake parliamentary jobs for his family. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) French far-right leader Marine le Pen shakes hands with farmers at the French Caribbean islands stand as she visits the Agriculture Fair Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017 in Paris. Le Pen is among a parade of candidates for the April-May election visiting the huge annual Paris agricultural fair this week. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)