Hollande announces he will NOT stand for re-election

Hollande talked for several minutes to defend his record as president before declaring that he will not be running for re-election.

“I have decided that I will not be a candidate,” Hollande said in a solemn TV address to the nation.

The president, who has terrible approval ratings, spoke about how he had placed France in the front line for the fight against climate change, how he fixed France’s social security debt, financed schools, improved equality, boosted the fight against discrimination, and modernized France’s democracy.

He spoke about the risks he had taken to lower unemployment, by lowering payroll taxes for businesses – an unpopular move with the left – in a bid to boost recruitment.

But he accepted that although unemployment had started to fall, it was not enough.

Hollande had always said he would only run again if he managed to lower unemployment.

He attacked François Fillon’s planned liberal economic reforms for France, which he said he would increase inequalities and threaten France’s social model.

But in the end he said he would not run against Fillon or the far right’s Marine Le Pen. His decision now opens the way for PM Manuel Valls to throw his hat into the ring.

France’s divided ruling Socialists began accepting candidates on Thursday for a party primary race ahead of next year’s presidential election, forcing Hollande into making an announcement.

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