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France's Hollande wants minimum wage linked to GDP

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s Socialist presidential frontrunner Francois Hollande said on Sunday he wanted to peg the national minimum wage to economic growth in order to limit the impact of price rises on low earners.

Hollande, 57, the pollsters’ favorite to beat conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy, also reiterated his desire to ban financial products that have “no link” to the wider economy.

“I am for the idea of a minimum wage...linked to growth. Each time there is growth of one (percentage) point, well, the minimum wage could rise by half, or 0.5 points,” Hollande told television channel M6. “That would solve the question over whether a helping nudge should be given or not.”

The gloomy economic outlook for France, soaring unemployment and the loss of the country’s AAA credit rating have helped Hollande keep a clear poll lead ahead of Sarkozy, who is battling to catch up with the left-wing challenger.

Earlier on Sunday Sarkozy recast himself as France’s savior from low-cost competition and high immigration, saying he would pull France out of Europe’s open-borders Schengen zone and propose a law supporting European-made products if no progress was made in these areas at a European level within a year.

Reporting by Lionel Laurent; Editing by Daniel Flynn