French President elect unveils list of political outsiders

 The party of French President-elect Emmanuel Macron has selected a diverse list of 428 candidates for parliamentary elections next month.

Only 24 of those chosen are outgoing MPs from the current parliament.

The secretary-general of La République En Marche (Republic on the Move) said some 52% come from civil society and exactly half are women.

Richard Ferrand said the choices marked “the definitive return of citizens to the heart of our political life”.

Mr Macron still needs to select more than 100 candidates for the 577 seat parliament and the party says its door is open to politicians from other parties to join.

Mr Ferrand said the movement received more than 19,000 applications, with 1,700 telephone interviews conducted with candidates.

“The average age of the list is 46 compared to 60 years for the average of outgoing MPs”, he said.

The youngest candidate is 24 years old, while the oldest is 72. Around 10 candidates are unemployed, double that are retired and a handful are students.

 All of the outgoing MPs chosen to run come from the Socialist Party of departing President François Hollande.

Mr Ferrand confirmed that Mr Macron’s ex-cabinet colleague Manuel Valls, the former prime minister who has now burned his boats with his Socialists- had not been selected.

He said that he did not meet the criteria because he had already served three parliamentary terms. But the party will not be running a candidate against him in his constituency in Essonne, south of Paris.

France had been waiting to see if the party list would live up to Mr Macron’s pledge to clean up France’s public life.

Many of the candidates are unknown to the public and there are few well-known personalities on the list.

Among the diverse candidates are Cédric Villani, a famous mathematician with a penchant for flamboyant bow-ties and spider brooches. He won the Fields Medal seen as one of the highest honours in mathematics in 2010.

 François Hollande’s communications advisor Gaspard Gantzer, former judge Éric Halphen and former bullfighter Marie Sara are also on the list.

Although no MPs of the Republican Party are candidates, at least two former allies of Alain Juppé who lost the centre-right party’s presidential primary have been selected.

It has escaped no-one’s attention that there are nearly 150 names still missing.