French Left seeks candidate after Francois Hollande bows out
French President Francois Hollande’s decision not to seek a second term
Paris: French President Francois Hollande’s decision not to seek a second term next year leaves the leftwing field open in an election that is proving increasingly unpredictable.Hollande announced on Thursday that he would not seek re-election next April, bowing to historic low approval ratings.“I have decided that I will not be a candidate,” the 62-year-old said in a solemn televised address from the Elysee Palace in Paris.
Manuel Valls, who had been a loyal prime minister to Hollande until recently but hinted at the weekend he might run against his boss in planned primaries, is expected to throw his hat in the ring.
The president conceded he had failed to rally his deeply divided Socialist Party behind his candidacy and keep a promise to slash unemployment, which hovers around one in 10 of the workforce.
“In the months to come, my only duty will be to continue to lead my country,” he said.The Socialist leader has some of the lowest approval ratings for a French president since World War II. His term has been marked by U-turns on major policies, terror attacks, a sickly economy and embarrassing revelations about his private life.
A new poll on Wednesday predicted he would win just seven per cent of votes in the first round of next year’s election.
Voter surveys currently tip rightwing Republicans party candidate Francois Fillon to win the election, with the far-right National Front candidate Marine Le Pen seen as the closest challenger.
France’s presidential elections date
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