Who is Emmanuel Macron, the new president of France, and what does he stand for?

Telegraph Reporters

Political career

After taking up a prestigious post at the French treasury, he served as deputy rapporteur for the commission to improve French growth headed by Jacques Attali, a former advisor to President Mitterrand, who was bowled over by his intelligence and self-assurance, predicting he had the "stuff of presidents".

But in 2008, Mr Macron then dropped the civil service to join Rothschild bank, rapidly becoming an associate, and helping to seal a multibillion-pound deal between Nestlé and Pfizer, reportedly racking up about €2 million (£1.7m).

When he joined Mr Hollande at the Elysée Palace as pro-business deputy secretary general, advising him on economic reform, the French press dubbed the newcomer the "Mozart of the Elysée".

In 2014, Mr Hollande made him the youngest economy minister in France since Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, who went on to become president. Mr Macron quit last summer to form his own party.

"I've seen the emptiness of our political system from the inside ... I reject this system," he said in a recent speech, calling for a “democratic revolution” but without providing any detailed action plan.

Who is he married to?

Mr Macron is married to divorcee Brigitte, a chocolate maker heiress and some 24 years his senior – a relationship that has intrigued the French public. 

The pair met when he was 15 and she was Brigitte Trogneux, a married mother of three and his French and drama teacher. Braving the disapproval of his parents, who sent him to Paris, the pair wed in 2007 with the extended family present. She has three children from her first marriage and seven grandchildren.

Mrs Macron plays a hands-on role by her husband's side, offering support and helping him edit speeches.

Mr Macron kisses his wife Brigitte as they attend a meeting for Women's Day in Paris in March Credit: Reuters

Controversies?

The couple have publicly quashed persistent rumours that he was having a homosexual affair, which he accused the entourage of former president Nicolas Sarkozy of starting.

What does he stand for?

Mr Macron insists he is "neither of the Left or the Right" but “for France".

In his book Revolution, published in November last year, Mr Macron describes himself as both Left-wing and a "liberal". 

A pro-business reformist, he is firmly on the Left on social issues, including on the freedom to practise religion in a secular state, equality and immigration.

How the French presidential election works

How does he want to change France?

Unveiling his manifesto in March, Mr Macron said he hoped to entice British business and banks to relocate to Paris, promising a substantial reduction in corporation tax to 25pc from its current 33.3pc.

More Blair than Thatcher, staunch Europhile Mr Macron has pledged to reduce public spending by €60bn and cut 120,000 public sector jobs.

He has also vowed to get tough on unemployment benefits for those who repeatedly turned down job offers and wants greater flexibility on the retirement age, currently 60, and the statutory 35-hour working week, allowing employers and staff more latitude to negotiate.

In a headline-grabbing sweetener, he said 80pc of households would be exonerated from a property tax known as the "taxe d’habitation", which is comparable to council tax. 

He also plans a €50bn public investment programme on green energy, training of tradesmen to reduce youth unemployment, transport, public sector administration and justice.

He wants more freedom for school governance and has suggested checks on the competence of government ministers and more proportional representation.

French election grid

 

 

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