France's Macron shapes his party for 2017 election and beyond

October 26, 2016 12:39 PM EDT

Emmanuel Macron, head of the political movement En Marche !, or Forward! and former French Economy Minister, waves as he leaves after a news conference in Paris, France, October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier


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PARIS (Reuters) - Emmanuel Macron, who quit the French government this summer, on Wednesday unveiled a committee to guide his new movement, six months before an election in which many expect him to run for the presidency.

The former economy minister named the 10 members of the executive committee of "En Marche" or "Forward", to be headed by a Socialist lawmaker.

"It was time to create this structure, first to be ready for 2017 and take progressive ideas further but also to make sure the movement lasts," Macron said at a news conference in Paris near the Elysee presidential palace.

"We're on track to become the biggest organized political movement in France," said Richard Ferrand, a Socialist MP named by Macron as secretary general. En Marche has no elected officials, but almost 90,000 members and 1,500 local groups.

Ferrand dismissed suggestions he could be expelled from the Socialists, whose rules forbid other party memberships, saying the ruling party, which is bleeding support and riven by infighting, was in no position to kick anybody out.

The new top team has five women and five men, including a Muslim Socialist lawmaker, a center-right politician, civil servants and businessmen.

Ferrand said 2.7 million euros ($2.95 million) had been raised from 6,400 donors so far. The official spending cap in the 2012 campaign was about 21 million euros.

Macron was credited with as much as 18 percent of first-round presidential votes in a Kantar Sofres OnePoint poll published in Wednesday's Le Figaro newspaper, but would fail to reach the second round runoff with that score.

(Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Andrew Callus and Andrew Roche)



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