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Hollande… The First French President Not Seeking Reelection | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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French President Francois Hollande waits for guests outside the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, July 11, 2016. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Paris- Francois Hollande’s presidential executive action, for a long time has failed to garner popularity support in France. His policymaking and popularity never matched that of what is expected of a president over the last four years.

As presidential elections for France’s fifth republic draw near, and campaign trails roam public streets, polls turnout indicate that Hollande will likely be reduced to the low ranks after only securing an insignificant five percent of popular vote. Hollande makes the first president to register such unpopularity.

After Hollande announced exiting elections, forecasts showed that at least 82 percent of French people applauded his choice for not seeking another presidency.

Both leftists and right wingers have washed clean their support for Hollande. As his term draws to an end, Hollande continues to hope for a miraculous upturn of events after which support is restored so is his position at the Élysée presidential palace.

Primaries in January will select the socialist, Hollande’s party, candidate. But whoever it is, pollsters predict he or she won’t make it through to the decisive second round run-off where the center-right’s candidate Francois Fillon and Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front are expected to go head to head.

Hollande’s decision not to run for a second term may not change the outcome of French elections, analysts say, but it reflects a broader populist backlash.

Hollande headed to Abu Dhabi on Friday, hours after his announcement that he would not seek another term. The Socialist leader becomes the first president in modern French history not to run for re-election, but he also faces record unpopularity.

“In the months to come, my only duty will be to continue to lead my country,” Hollande said in a hastily scheduled televised address Thursday night, in which he did not endorse a leftist successor.

Hollande also reiterated the efforts France has led under his administration on counterterrorism and preserving civilian security.

Many leftists argue that Hollande had betrayed the public trust given to him – he has not fallen through with his promises on a reformist economic program. Noting that Hollande was elected on the basis of his ability to deliver a progressive – leftist program.

Unemployment did not fall as promised, and purchasing power for lower and middle class spheres remained low — Hollande’s 2014 Liberal policy favored employers rather than employees, offsetting taxes for companies while increasing taxes for the middle class.