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So, what do the French presidential candidates plan to do if elected?

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So, what do the French presidential candidates plan to do if elected?
Francois Fillon, Emmanuel Macton, Jean-Luc Melenchon, Marine Le Pen, and Benoit Hamon. Photo: Patrick Kovarik/AFP
14:25 CEST+02:00
The five main contenders in France's presidential election span the ideological spectrum from hard left to far right. A week before the first round of voting, here are their main proposals:

Marine Le Pen: France first

- Negotiate France's exit from the eurozone and return to the franc.

Immediately suspend membership of the European passport-free Schengen area and restore border controls. Hold a "Frexit" referendum after six months of negotiations with Brussels on transforming the union into a club of nation states.

- Reduce legal immigration to 10,000 people per year, require refugees seeking asylum in France to apply in their home region, hold a referendum on reforms including introducing a French-first policy on jobs and housing

- Impose a 35-per-cent tax on products from companies that offshore factory jobs

- Lower the minimum retirement age from 62 to 60 and expand family subsidies.

- Pull France out of NATO's central command and develop closer relations with Russia.

Emmanuel Macron: Economic 'liberation'

- Cut the corporation tax rate from 33 percent to 25 percent and give bosses more flexibility to negotiate working time with staff at the company level.

- Give all workers, including the self-employed, access to unemployment benefits.

- Accelerate integration in the eurozone by giving it a central parliament, finance minister and budget. Organise democratic conventions in all EU member states to discuss reforming the bloc.

- Create tax incentives to encourage companies to hire jobseekers from underprivileged neighbourhoods

- Introduce one month's obligatory military service for all 18-21-year-olds.

Francois Fillon: Shrinking the state

- Cut 500,000 public servant jobs and reduce public spending by 100 billion euros ($106 billion) over five years to reduce France's debt.

- Scrap the official 35-hour working week. Progressively raise the working week for civil servants to 39. Allow companies to negotiate working time directly with employees. In the absence of an accord, apply a 39-hour rule.

- Ban the full-body Islamic burkini swimsuit and introduce uniforms in public schools.

- Reduce immigration by setting annual quotas.

- Work with Russia, Iran and the Syrian regime in combating the Islamic State.

Jean-Luc Melenchon: Big spender

- Renegotiate EU treaties. Get the union to scrap rules on fiscal discipline and allow the European Central Bank to buy up debt from member states. If talks fail hold a referendum on withdrawing from the treaties, leading to possible exit from the euro.

- Move from a presidential system to a parliamentary system. Give citizens more powers to propose referenda and recall lawmakers.

- Tax all annual earnings above 400,000 euros at 100 percent and increase public spending by 173 billion euros ($184 billion) over five years.

- End France's use of nuclear power and fossil fuels. Boost renewables, which would supply 100 percent of the country's needs by 2050.

- Foreign policy: Withdraw from NATO. Improve relations with Russia "to avoid war." Curry ties with the leftist Latin American ALBA grouping founded by late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.

Benoit Hamon: Income for all

- Introduce a universal basic income, initially targeting the working poor but eventually extended to all citizens, reaching 750 euros a month. Estimated cost of first phase: 35 billion euros a year.

- Move towards a shorter working week by encouraging companies to allow more part-time work and sabbaticals. Tax robots that take human jobs.

- Increase company payroll taxes

- Increase the share of renewables in the energy mix to 50 percent by 2025. Ban harmful pesticides.

- Legalise cannabis.

By Valerie Dekimpe and Clare Byrne

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