Hollande launches manifesto and rises in the polls


Last night François Hollande, the Socialist Party (PS) candidate, laid out his election manifesto and published a ’60 measures’ booklet to back up his pledges.

The core part of the speech dealt with a theme he started on Sunday when he said “I’ll tell you who my true opponent is. It has no name, it has no face, no party, it will never stand as a candidate, it will not be elected and yet it governs. The opponent is the world of finance. Before our eyes, in twenty years, finance has taken control of the economy, society and even our lives.”

That theme has led him to pledge to increase tax on bank profits by 15%, separate retail banking from investment banking, cancel €29 billion of tax breaks for the ‘rich and big business’ and place a higher rate of income tax on people earning more than €150,000 per annum.

Mr Hollande went on to say that he wanted to support the middle classes. He plans to create 60,000 teaching jobs and 150,000 state funded jobs for first time workers. He will add 1,000 jobs to the police and justice system and reduce the retirement age once more to 60 from 62 years. He also pledged to set up a public investment bank to help small and medium sized businesses as well as cut taxes on small firms.

Opinion polls taken after his speech on Sunday suggest that his plans are going down well with the French voters; last night’s pledges have yet to be assessed.

Meanwhile, Nicolas Sarkozy has taken a further knock on this latest surge from the Socialist candidate. A CSA poll for 20 minutes and RMC BFMTV shows François Hollande’s lead increasing.

Hollande now has 31% of the vote, up from 29% in a similar poll two weeks ago. Nicolas Sarkozy of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) has dropped from 26% to 25%. Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Front (FN) has also dropped two percentage points from 19% to 17%. François Bayrou of the Democratic Movement (MoDem) is up two percentage points from 13% to 15% of the vote.

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