Sarkozy focuses his campaign on employment

29th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 28, 2007 (AFP) - French presidential frontrunner Nicolas Sarkozy said in an elections programme released Wednesday that he wanted to reform France by restoring the value of work.

PARIS, March 28, 2007 (AFP) - French presidential frontrunner Nicolas Sarkozy said in an elections programme released Wednesday that he wanted to reform France by restoring the value of work.

"The rehabilitation of work is at the heart of my presidential plan," said Sarkozy in the 16-page document released on the website of the financial newspaper La Tribune.

With less than four weeks to go before the first round of voting, Sarkozy released the programme as a response to the 100-point presidential pact presented last month by Socialist rival Segolene Royal.

"For 25 years we have been living in a state of resignation," said the candidate of the governing rightwing Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).

He vowed to "end this fatalism, this renunciation, this resignation."

His proposals included a mandatory secret vote by workers after eight days of strike, a measure aimed at putting an end to prolonged work stoppages in factories and offices.

He also pledged to present a bill this summer guaranteeing minimum essential services during a strike.

Sarkozy, the son of a Hungarian immigrant, has promised a "clean break" with France's politics of the past. He is slightly ahead of Royal in public opinion polls.

But polls show a large number of voters remain undecided and the race is seen as too close to call.

In the programme, Sarkozy took aim at the 35-hour working week created under the Socialist government, saying it had failed to put a dent in the jobless rate, currently at 8.6 percent.

He pledged to bring down unemployment to five percent in five years by changing laws that were "impeding work."

Turning to the tense suburbs that erupted into riots in late 2005, Sarkozy pledged to restore law and order "and end gang rule" in the predominantly immigrant areas.

"I will put aside a lot of money for the suburbs, for education, training, urban renewal, public services, transport and economic activity," he said.

The former interior minister, who left his post last week to devote himself fully to his campaign, reiterated his proposal for an immigration and national identity ministry.

"Concerning immigration, more problems lie ahead of us than those behind us and there is no other solution but a responsible policy that reconciles controlled immigration and co-development," he said.

The 15-chapter programme is to be formally launched on Thursday and a news conference is scheduled for Monday.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article