World Bulletin / News Desk
The long-awaited decision is seen as a threat to both right and left campaigners, including former Prime Minister Alain Juppe, the favorite rightist candidate, and President Francois Hollande, who has the lowest popularity ratings for any post-war president.
Hollande said he would not decide about whether he should seek his re-election until early December.
Speaking in a press conference, Macron said: “I will run for the presidency of the republic,” saying his bid was "the fruit of an intimate conviction."
“The challenge is not to unite the left or the right, but to unite the people of France," he said during his 20-minute speech. "I'm convinced our country has the power to advance.
"France has always been the country of progress, but it has fallen off the path," he said, adding he wanted "to pull France into the 21st century."
Macron’s move also comes just before the first round of voting of the Les Republicains party and its Centre-right allies on Sunday.
The 38-year-old minister founded his own political movement “En Marche!” (On the move) last April. Some of his fellow socialists saw the move as a challenge to the authority of the French president and the government of Prime Minister Manuel Valls.
The former Rothschild banker first joined the Elysee Palace as an economy adviser in wake of Hollande’s presidential victory in 2012. He was then dubbed as Hollande’s “right brain”.
On Aug. 26, 2014, Macron was appointed as the minister of economy, industry and digital technology, after the forced departure of Arnaud Montebourg. Speaking last month in front of his supporters, Macron vowed to lead the movement "to 2017 and to victory,” giving a hint about his presidential ambitions.
The two-round presidential election will be held on April 23 and May 7.