Former French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a political campaign rally in the Parc des Expositions in Paris, France, 10 December 2016.

Emmanuel Macron, the centrist candidate in France's presidential election, Friday called for "zero tolerance" towards both crime and police abuses.

Macron outlined his stand on social issues in an interview with right-leaning newspaper Le Figaro, amid ongoing trouble in Paris' suburbs after a policeman allegedly sodomized a young black man during an arrest two weeks ago.

The former economy minister, who has been criticized by rivals for publishing few concrete policy proposals, said he wanted to employ 10,000 new police officers and gendarmes and build places in prisons for 15,000 inmates over the five-year presidential mandate.

But he also called for more neighbourhood policing, saying: "When you only have riot police and rapid response units in an area, that means that there is no day-to-day security."

Macron also weighed in on the issues of multiculturalism and identity, often proxies for how the French state engages with its Muslim minority.

"We must make no concessions to communitarianism," he argued. "My republic is not multicultural. But whether we like it or not, the French republic is diverse."

Macron has moved into second place in most polls since conservative candidate Francois Fillon was hit by allegations that his wife received a lucrative salary for a fake job as his parliamentary aide.

That sets him up for a likely run-off vote in May against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

Macron, who was a liberalizing economy minister under the current Socialist Party President Francois Hollande, once again resisted being categorized as left-wing or right-wing.

"Those categories worked for yesterday's world. Not for the world of tomorrow," he told Le Figaro.

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