French presidential candidate Macron unveils 'anti-nepotism' agenda

[PARIS] A frontrunner in the French presidential elections, Emmanuel Macron, vowed on Thursday to end nepotism in government, as it was announced his rival Francois Fillon would be charged over a fake jobs scandal.

Mr Macron, a 39-year-old centrist and former economy minister, who has been criticised for being too vague on policy, laid out his agenda for Le Parisien newspaper.

"We will forbid parliamentarians from employing their family members, to put an end to nepotism," Mr Macron told the paper, adding that he also aimed to reduce conflicts of interest by prohibiting deputies from carrying out advisory activities.

Mr Macron's agenda comes as a poll showed that only one in four French people thought embattled rightwing candidate Fillon, once considered a favourite, should carry on his presidential bid.

He has been hit by allegations over the past five weeks that he paid his British-born wife Penelope and two of their children hundreds of thousands of euros since 1988 for fake parliamentary jobs.

Mr Fillon said on Wednesday that charges against him were set to be announced on March 15 but that he was a victim of "political assassination" and vowed to stay in the race.

Mr Fillon's being summoned means that investigating magistrates believe there is enough evidence to charge him for embezzlement of public funds, which could lead to a trial.

Analysts have said either Mr Macron or far-right candidate Marine le Pen are best placed to benefit from Mr Fillon's woes.



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