France’s Finance Chief Hints at Different Future After Election

(Bloomberg) -- French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said he may not remain in his post after the snap legislative elections that have plunged the country into political uncertainty over the next government.

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“I’ve always accepted that things can stop suddenly, that’s part of politics,” Le Maire said in the publication Le Figaro. “My political future will be written differently. You have to know how to move forward. The most important thing is the feeling of duty accomplished.”

President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to call snap elections after a crushing defeat in a European Parliament poll at the weekend raises the prospect that a very different government will emerge in the aftermath.

With Marine Le Pen’s National Rally riding high in the polls, the president’s party may no longer be the largest in the National Assembly. Macron said Wednesday that he will pick a new prime minister that reflects political groups chosen in the legislative ballot.

Le Maire has served as finance minister throughout Macron’s time in office, driving key pro-business overhauls such as reducing corporate taxes, as well as reigniting industrial policy with public investment in new sectors. He’s also been a vocal supporter of taking a tougher stance on trade, with regard to both China and the US.

In an interview on Sud Radio Thursday morning, Le Maire pledged to “fight like a lion” in the election campaign, even as he will not himself be running for a seat in the new parliament. He has previously warned that France could be plunged into a debt crisis if the far right were to gain power and implement its policies.

Asked in the radio interview what he would do if he were no longer minister, Le Maire said: “At a moment when France is in such a grave situation, it doesn’t even begin to matter in the slightest.”

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