* Ex-minister unveils first part of "diagnosis"
* Ex-banker has yet to say he will run for president
* Sets out ideas on reforming political system
(Adds details from rally)
By Michel Rose
STRASBOURG, France, Oct 4 France is sick because
politicians throw taxpayers money at problems instead of
addressing them properly, presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron
said on Tuesday as he set out a first batch of ideas to reform
the country's political system.
The former economy minister who quit President Francois
Hollande's government this summer slammed the whole political
class for failing to reform a country struggling with endemic
unemployment and shaken by deadly attacks.
"When politics is no longer a mission but a profession,
politicians become more self-serving than public servants,"
Macron told a rally of more than a 1,000 people in the eastern
city of Strasbourg.
The one-time investment banker, who rose to prominence as an
adviser to Hollande and then a minister in his government who
advocated in vain for bolder reforms, was addressing the first
of three rallies outside Paris.
Although he has yet to say whether he will run for president
in next year's elections, the rallies are his platform for
unveiling his so-called "diagnosis" for the country.
On the day the Socialist government ordered 21 high-speed
trains in a pre-election bid to preserve jobs at a struggling
locomotive plant, Macron also criticised the
knee-jerk reactions of French politicians.
"The only way governments or would-be governments respond to
ills these days is by seeking to lower the temperature... and
that tends to mean public spending," he told reporters in a
briefing ahead of the rally.
"We can't fix the real problems if we only cauterise and
don't treat the roots of evil," he added.
Macron's aides said it was too early to announce a full
manifesto, but that he wanted to use the results of a
door-to-door campaign in which hundreds of volunteers collected
voters' grievances this summer to first explain what he thinks
is wrong in France.
In Tuesday's first instalment focused on the political
system, the 38-year old said he was in favour of introducing
more proportional representation in electing France's lawmakers,
even if that means letting in more far-right or far-left MPs.
He said he also wanted to speed up France's lawmaking
process, make ministers more accountable to parliament, and
possibly create a committee filled with randomly chosen citizens
who could grill the president regularly.
He also said ministers and lawmakers should only be
appointed if they have a clean criminal record, a thinly veiled
criticism of the leading conservative candidate in opinion
polls, former Prime Minister Alain Juppé, who in 2004 was handed
a suspended jail sentence for corruption.
That went down well with members of the public. "What I
really liked was his talk about probity in politics,"
27-year-old insurance employee Adelaide Vassor said after the
"I don't think he'll make it in 2017. The country is too
sclerotic, but if we can influence mainstream parties in five or
10 years, that's interesting."
Since Macron resigned last August, government and opposition
politicians have branded him a "traitor" and called his policies
Hardly known to the public two years ago, he has risen to
become one of France's most popular politicians.
With poll after poll showing far-right leader Marine Le Pen
assured of getting to the second round but losing the runoff in
May to whoever faces her, Socialists and conservatives realise
Macron's pitch for the middle ground could cost them the
(Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Andrew Callus and Lisa