Hollande not to stand for re-election
Francois Hollande has announced he will not seek a second term as president of France.
Hollande, in a TV address on Thursday said, "I have decided not to be a candidate for the presidential election, to the renewal of my mandate". "I am conscious of the risks that would entail a move that would not gather enough support," the president said to explain his decision.
He said that power had not made him "lose lucidity on myself, on the situation," and that he could not split his Socialist Party and the left with another candidacy.
"It would deprive the left of any hope to win against conservatism and, even worse, against extremism," he said.
In two opinion polls earlier this week, 7-7.5% of people said they would vote for Hollande in the first round of the presidential election, against 29-30% for the new center-right candidate Francois Fillon and 23-24% for far-right leader Marine Le Pen, the EU Observer reports.
Some 80% of the French public said they approved of Mr. Hollande’s choice, according to to a survey by market research company Harris Interactive published on Friday.
The party began accepting candidates on Thursday for its primaries, due on January 22 and 29, 2017. The presidential elections are due on April 23, with a runoff on May 7.
The former prime minister François Fillon to lead the center-right Republican Party in next year’s presidential election. Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front, is the second significant frontrunner in the presidential race.