PARIS May 1 Centrist French presidential
frontrunner Emmanuel Macron on Monday rejected calls from the
left to amend the pro-business reforms in his electoral
With six days to go before the second round of the
presidential election that polls show him on track to win,
Macron made the pledge at a rally of around 12,000 people on the
edge of Paris.
"I heard the calls to change my manifesto," he said, in a
reference to the demands of Jean-Luc Melenchon, the far-left
candidate who picked up one in five votes in the first round of
voting last weekend.
"Some did it in the past, but I won't do it."
Macron needs leftwing votes if he is to beat his far-right
run-off rival Marine Le Pen on Sunday. A poll last week show
about 40 percent of those who voted for Melenchon would support
him, but that another 40 percent could abstain, with the rest
choosing Le Pen.
He said his proposed reforms, which include capping
severance payments to make firing and hiring easier, were
necessary to address unemployment, which has hovered around 10
percent in France for several years.
"These changes are essential to prevent the National Front
from becoming stronger in five years' time," he added.
In a message of conciliation to voters concerned about
globalisation, however, Macron said he would set up a committee
to investigate the consequences of the CETA free trade deal
between Europe and Canada.
He also repeated he would seek fairer EU rules to prevent
what he calls 'social dumping' - under which companies can move
jobs to member countries where labour is cheaper and employ
imported workers at lower rates.
Macron also mocked Le Pen's move in recent days to soften
her stance on dumping the euro common currency under which she
outlined a leisurely transition to a national currency and a
parallel 'European common currency'.
"They're now explaining to us that we'll have francs in the
morning and euros in the afternoon, and that with this monopoly
money all will be well," he said.
(Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Andrew Callus)