Grim Hollande says he won't seek second term as French president

President Francois Hollande shocked France on December 1 by announcing he would not seek a second term next year, acknowledging his deep unpopularity and making way for another leftist candidate to take on conservative Francois Fillon and far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

grim hollande says he won't seek second term as french president hinh 0

The surprise announcement - effectively an admission that by running again he would hurt his Socialist party's chances - marks the first time since France's fifth Republic was created in 1958 that an incumbent president has not sought a second mandate.

"I am aware today of the risk that going down a route that would not gather sufficient support would entail, so I have decided not to be a candidate in the presidential election," a sombre-looking Hollande said in a televised address.

Dogged by high unemployment, Hollande is the least popular president in French polling history, yet his closest aides had consistently said he would run.

After Britain's shock vote to quit the EU and the US choice of Donald Trump as president, the election next April and May is on course to turn into another test of voters' anger with traditional elites, with Le Pen tapping into frustration with immigrants, austerity and the European Union.

Reuters

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