Presidential frontrunner Emmanuel Macron said he would root out inequalities in France's pension system, sell down government stakes in major firms and downsize parliament, as he unveiled a manifesto to set him apart from traditionalists.
Breaking the mould with his manifesto. Emmanuel Macron is standing as an independent centrist in the French presidential race. And is clearly trying his hardest to set himself apart from the traditionalists. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH INDEPENDENT CENTRIST PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, EMMANUEL MACRON, SAYING: "The project that we are bringing forward is not designed to help those who have already succeeded. It is a project of economic and social mobility, that aims to allow each and everyone, who has the talent, the capacity and the will, to succeed in our society." The frontrunner taking aim at lawmakers. Promising to root out inequalities in the French pension system. Determined to cut parliamentary seats by a third. And eager to sell down government stakes in some companies... Using the money raised to fund industry and innovation projects. Macron had faced accusations that he had so far remained vague about his presidential plans. Now his proposed reforms likely to provoke a heated debate. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SIMON FRENCH, CHIEF ECONOMIST, PANMURE GORDON, SAYING: "I think he is talking about the right things in terms of fiscal fire power for redistribution. The problem is he doesn't have public support on his side either in France or across the euro zone. The other major candidate Marine Le pen is promised a referendum on France's future within the EU so very, very polarised visions for the future of France." As things stand, the 39-year-old former economy minister is currently tipped to defeat far-right leader Marine Le Pen in a run-off vote in May.