France's Macron criticizes government for holding back on reforms

September 4, 2016 4:26 AM EDT

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PARIS (Reuters) - Emmanuel Macron, who resigned from the French government on Tuesday, criticized President Francois Hollande's government in a newspaper interview for not pushing hard enough for reforms.

"I kept trying, proposing, pushing ... If you want to succeed you cannot leave work half done, and unfortunately many things were left half done! The choice was made not to launch a second wave of economic reforms as I was proposing it," he told Le Journal du Dimanche.

Macron, a 38-year old former investment banker tipped as a potential candidate in next year's presidential election, quit his economy minister post on Tuesday to devote himself to the political party he recently set up, saying he needed to be free "to transform France" next year..

Macron's place in the government had become increasingly awkward after he repeatedly criticized left-wing totems such as France's 35-hour work week and created his 'En Marche' (Forward) party in April, casting it as leaning neither left nor right.

Macron, however, did not say in the Journal du Dimanche interview if he would make a bid for the French presidency in the 2017 election.

If confirmed, a Macron bid for the presidency would further harm President Francois Hollande's chances of re-election, with polls already suggesting he would be very unlikely to even make it into the run-off round.

A new poll by Odoxa pollsters for Le Parisien/Aujourd'hui en France conducted between Sept 1. and Sept. 2 showed 74 percent of voters thought Macron was right to resign and 45 percent would like him to run in the election against 40 percent in June.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Mark Potter)

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