French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron has resigned to work on proposals ''to transform France'', clearing the way for a presidential bid next year that will further unsettle an already wide-open race. Laura Frykberg reports.
The nervous smile, perhaps, said it all. France's economy minister, en route to announce his resignation. A decision he says he's not taking lightly. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH ECONOMY MINISTER EMMANUEL MACRON, SAYING: " I know how serious this decision is, it's not a hasty one. It would have been easier to stay in the comfort of this ministry but I have chosen to take my responsibilities." Emmanuel Macron, was already at odds with the government. The 38-year-old is a vocal critic of France's short working week and strict job protections. In April, he formed his own party, its proposals he says he'll reveal soon. Many believe it's a sign he's pushing for presidency. (SOUNDBITE) (French) 22-YEAR-OLD PARISIAN, MARIE GIRAUX, WHO WORKS IN REAL ESTATE, SAYING: "I think Emmanuel Macron can offer a lot more solutions because he's more of an economist than other presidents, and his background is not just on the left, nor on the right, he's in between and if he became a candidate maybe that's how we'd find a solution." (SOUNDBITE) (French) 35-YEAR-OLD PARISIAN, ADRIEN DE STEFANO, SAYING: "Whether Macron's there or not I think French President Francois Hollande should feel under threat because his record isn't glorious." But is he the man for the top job? (SOUNDBITE) (English) WILSON KING INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, RICHARD HUNTER SAYING: "He is clearly someone who can both suggest and implement reforms into something of a lagging French economy. But it could be difficult for him to garner support. But certainly in terms of his score card so far, he's had a record of innovation and a record of modernizing the current situation in France." It's something current president Francois Hollande will not want. He's already facing challengers formerly from his own party. Current polls don't appear favourable either, showing he's unlikely to even make the first run-off round.