France

French Socialist Party debates 2012 presidential election manifesto

AFP/Denis Charlet

The French Socialist Party is to propose state aid to small businesses and the creation of 30,000 jobs for youth during the 2012 fight for France’s presidency, if its national conference passes a proposed manifesto Saturday.

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The opinion polls’ favourite to become the party’s presidential candidate faces sexual assault charges in New York, but the Socialists still hope to oust President Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2012 vote.

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The majority of the manifesto’s proposals are aimed at development, aid to small businesses, and youth. Highest on the list is the creation of a public investment bank, targeted at small and medium-sized business.

The party is also proposing lowering taxes for businesses that reinvest their profits and raising taxes for those that pay out dividends to stockholders. Also high on the economic list is the creation of 30,000 new jobs for youths in green industries and social services.

Other proposals under debate include:

  • Higher import duties on products coming from countries that do not respect international social, sanitary and environmental norms;
  • Lower taxes on non-polluting products;
  • Allowing homosexual marriages and the rights of homosexual couples to adopt children;
  • Reestablishing the legal retirement age at 60.

The current head of the party, Martine Aubry, under pressure from her supporters to declare her candidacy for the presidency, is not expected to declare at the conference.

Her main rival, François Hollande, has said that he wants the party’s nomination.

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