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FACTBOX: Policies of French presidential candidate Sarkozy

(Reuters) - On the last day of official campaigning, opinion polls showed conservative Nicolas Sarkozy enjoying a commanding lead over Socialist opponent Segolene Royal before Sunday’s second round of the French presidential election.

Following are policies announced by Sarkozy in his manifesto and major speeches over the past six months:

THE ECONOMY/EMPLOYMENT

- will exempt overtime from tax and social security charges

- proposes to cut four percentage points from tax/social charges and thus return 68 billion euros to the French people.

- wants a single labor contract, with social rights increasing over time, flexibility he says will encourage employers to hire more staff.

- vows to ban “golden parachute” payouts to executives and prevent stock options being confined only to company bosses.

- 35-hour work week, retirement at 60 should be retained, but viewed as a minimum, not maximum, with people free to work more or longer if they want.

- cut public sector staff levels to boost civil service wages and reduce public debt.

- Sarkozy’s UMP party has pledged to bring public debt below 60 pct/GDP over five years, limit public spending increases to 1.5 pct over five years

LAW-AND-ORDER/IMMIGRATION

- minimum sentences for repeat offenders, tougher sentences for juveniles

- ensure judges are accountable for their decisions

- reduce illegal immigration, pursue selective immigration that favors arrival of qualified workers.

- will create a ministry of immigration and national identity, says defense of French identity should not be seen as a taboo subject.

WELFARE/SOCIAL POLICY

- bring generous state pensions in transport, energy sectors in line with rest of public sector.

- create “civil union” for homosexuals, granting them same social, tax and inheritance rights as married couples, while not allowing gay couples to marry or to adopt.

- pass bill making right to housing legally enforceable, provide shelter for all homeless people within two years.

FOREIGN POLICY

EUROPE - Finance ministers should pressure ECB into lowering the euro. ECB should pursue growth and jobs as well as fight inflation, but a change in bank’s statutes is unrealistic.

- EU negotiations with Turkey should result in strategic partnership, not full membership.

- pause in new EU memberships after Romania, Bulgaria.

- hopes to resolve impasse over the European constitution by 2009. Calls for a simplified treaty that will:

- prolong the term of the rotating presidencies;

- create the post of an EU foreign minister;

- extend qualified voting to judicial, immigration issues;

- promote powers of European parliament;

- give citizens the right to propose Commission policy.

IRAN - Unacceptable for Iran to obtain the atom bomb, promises more sanctions if Tehran refuses to meet U.N. demands.

UNITED STATES - Wants “deep, sincere, staunch” friendship with Washington, but says United States should be ready to take criticism. Calls for United States to do more to halt global warming.

INSTITUTIONAL REFORM

- president limited to two successive mandates.

- president to have right to address parliament directly.

- boost parliament’s ability to amend government bills.

- element of proportional representation in Senate.

- limit government to 15 ministers.

EDUCATION

- greater autonomy for educational institutions.

- free access to all national museums.

- greater autonomy for universities.

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