Former French Minister Montebourg Will Run for President

Arnaud Montebourg, a former French economy and industry minister under socialist President Francois Hollande, announced he’s running for president.

Montebourg said on Saturday from his hometown of Clamecy he wants to avoid “the pain” of a second mandate of President Emmanuel Macron or the “danger” of a first mandate of Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right Rassemblement National. The vote takes place in April.

The 58-year-old candidate was a minister under Hollande until 2014, when the then president fired him after Montebourg criticized the government for its austerity policies he deemed “slavish” and “dogmatic.” He was replaced by Macron, who then quit to form his own political movement that saw him win the presidential elections in 2017.

After his time in government, Montebourg went back to school, set up a honey business and was appointed at furniture company Habitat, where he was in charge of innovation.

Known for his advocacy for “made-in-France” production, Montebourg once famously wore a French striped shirt on the cover of the daily Le Parisien.

An unapologetic admirer of Louis XIV’s finance minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert -- who advocated state intervention in business -- Montebourg during his government years crafted a decree requiring foreign investors to seek government approval in areas such as energy, equipment, plants and transportation if deemed critical for national security.

Montebourg was twice candidate in the Socialist presidential primaries in 2011 and 2016. On Saturday, he called for an effort to help France recover through 2027, an challenge he called “la remontada.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.