PARIS (Reuters) - French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron described as “nonsense” on Thursday the latest media report to suggest he is preparing to enter the 2017 presidential race.
A story in online publication Mediapart said the 38-year-old was gearing up for the move and had chosen June 10 as the date for his announcement.
Speculation that the former investment banker will run for president has swirled for months and gathered pace five weeks ago when he launched his own political movement called “En Marche” or “Forward”, and claimed to be “neither of the left nor of the right”.
Macron is far more popular in France than his president, Francois Hollande, who will decide by the end of this year whether to be the main candidate for the left and who looks unlikely to make the decisive second-round run-off.
Macron is not an elected lawmaker and does not have an established political machine behind him.
He could cause Hollande problems, however, as the incumbent struggles to unite an already divided French political left around his own candidacy.
According to Mediapart though, Hollande is aware of the plan and “believes it could serve his purposes”.
“All that is absolute nonsense... what interests me is real life and my work,” Macron told reporters in Paris.
On reports that he was seeking financing and had chosen a date, he added: “Both of these elements are totally false, I won’t be declaring next month.”
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Reporting by Michel Rose; Writing by Andrew Callus; Editing by James Regan