A candidate in the French presidential race has proposed a social “revolution” founded on free, open source software.

Francois Bayrou, leader of the centrist Union for French Democracy (UDF), spoke of his appreciation for wikis and said he wants to create “a society based on shared culture, science and knowledge”.

“The French crisis is deeper than any crisis in the last 50 years,” he told the Le Web 3 technology conference in Paris today. “This crisis needs a new answer with some very precise reforms.

“The internet symbolises the ability of people, particularly citizens, to become proactive rather than passive – to not only receive information but to have an active role in society.”

Bayrou is set to run in next year’s presidential election to replace Jacques Chirac and has joined the massed ranks of French politicians to have launched a weblog.

“I am very impressed with the phenomenon of open source software. In the wiki logic, there is a capacity to share and cooperate on research and economic activity. This is a crucial moment of the history of humanity.”