‘Hoax’ or cunning plan: Macron for French president?

French Minister Emmanuel Macron has once again forced to deny he was making moves on the presidency after reports in the French press said he was building a war chest.

'Hoax' or cunning plan: Macron for French president?
"What are you up to?", Nothing, honest." PM Manuel Valls and his Finance Minister Emmanuel Macron. Photo: AFP

French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron on Thursday was forced to deny reports that he is raising funds for a presidential election war chest and would announce his bid next month.

“These two assertions are totally false,” the 38-year-old rising star told reporters. “I won't declare next month and… I have not raised any funds to this end.”

Early this month Paris Match magazine reported that Macron raised nearly 10 million pounds (€12.75 million, $14.5 million) during a trip to London to “fund a campaign if he decides to run”.

Then the Mediapart news website reported on Wednesday that Macron would announce his bid on June 10, prompting categorical denials from his aides.

The former banker said Thursday: “I will not do anything in June aside from my job as minister” while nevertheless evoking the need for an “overhaul” of the Socialist government's agenda.

Government spokesman Stephane Le Foll said earlier that he hoped the Mediapart report was a “hoax”.

Macron made waves last month by setting up his own political movement, “En Marche” (On the Move), prompting cabinet colleagues to call on him to get into line.

The Minister has repeatedly been rebuked by members of his own government after suggesting that several sacrosanct Socialist principles like the 35-hour week and the status of civil servants.

“He knows exactly what he is doing,” French political expert Bruno Cautres told The Local. “A clever guy like that doesn’t say provocative things by accident.”

The deeply unpopular President Francois Hollande has said he will not decide until the end of the year whether to seek re-election.

Opinion polls predict he would be eliminated in the first round of the two-round contest starting on April 23.

A poll last month showed that Macron would fare better if he was named the Socialist candidate, and would progress into the second round, possibly to face far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

READ ALSO: What on earth is this Frenchman really up to?

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Macron to make live TV broadcast to France

French president Emmanuel Macron will make a live TV broadcast to the nation about the war in Ukraine.

Macron to make live TV broadcast to France

Macron will be on TV on Wednesday at 8pm, the Elysée confirmed earlier on Wednesday.

Macron also tweeted the announcement, saying that his speech will be on the subject of the war in Ukraine.

His office added that the president’s speech “will not touch on other matters” – Macron has only until Friday to confirm whether or not he is running for re-election.

It is widely considered to be extremely unlikely that he would not stand in the April elections, but all candidates have until Friday, March 4th, to make their declaration.

Macron’s team had previously announced a rally in Marseille on Saturday, March 5th, which was expected to be the first official campaign event, but on Tuesday this was cancelled because of the ongoing international crisis.

Macron was at the forefront of international efforts to find a diplomatic resolution to the crisis, and since Russia invaded Ukraine he has remained in close contact with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, and has also spoken – at the request of Zelensky – to Russian premier Vladimir Putin.

The Local will be following Macron’s speech live from 8pm HERE.