France’s Macron Leaves Open Possibility of 2017 Presidential Bid

  • Economy minister says political movement isn’t an ‘ego trip’
  • British referendum transforms election into vote on Europe

Macron Eyes Brexit Deals and Mulls French Presidency

French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron left open the possibility of making a bid for the presidency next year in an election he predicts will hinge on the question of the country’s place in the European Union.

“I never exclude anything,” Macron said Sunday when asked about a campaign in an interview at the Rencontres Economiques conference in Aix-en-Provence, France. “It’s definitely too early to say.”

The remarks add to the will-he-won’t-he speculation that has surrounded the 38-year-old minister since he created his own political movement in April. Multiple polls show President Francois Hollande, Macron’s boss, wouldn’t qualify for the second round of an election if it were held now, while the minister himself is one of the more popular politicians in the country.

‘Progressive Platform’

Macron sought to emphasize that his door-to-door campaign and fund raising operation is intended to build up a party offering voters an alternative from the traditional left-right divide. His intention is to provide a “progressive” and “pro-European” platform with a particular focus on liberty and improving education.

“It’s not an ego trip,” Macron said. It’s a “question about the situation of the country and what you’re in a situation to propose for your country.”

In the wake of the U.K. vote to leave the European Union, the 2017 French presidential election will hinge on the country’s own relationship with the bloc and its remaining 27 countries, Macron said. National Front leader Marine Le Pen, who could be one of the two candidates in the run-off vote according to polls, is leading the campaign for France to hold its own in-out plebiscite on the EU.

“The campaign will be a big debate about Europe,” Macron said. The issue is “our future in the European Union and precisely how to re-design the union.”

The French are scheduled to select their next president in two rounds of voting in April and May of 2017.

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