The French President Francois Hollande has announced he will not be putting himself up for re-election. His decision follows a poll which indicated that he would win only seven per cent of the vote.
Pollsters now believe that a Socialist candidate won’t even get through to the second round in the 2017 election. While Mr Hollande had been widely tipped to try for a second term in office, he has announced he is taking himself out of the race before it begins in earnest.
Looking close to tears, Mr Hollande announced his decision in a televised address: “I have decided that I will not be a candidate. In the months to come, my only duty will be to continue to lead my country.”
The 62-year-old stood down following the announcement from French prime minister Manuel Valls that he would be intending to put his hat in the ring for the left-wing Socialist primary in January. It is a historic moment for France, given that this is the first time that a sitting French president has decided not to seek a second term.
He said he did not want to head down a path where he did not win enough support, so had decided to take himself out of the election race. He is the most unpopular president in French polling history. Mr Hollande made the announcement just before the deadline. He had until the middle of the month to reveal what he intended to do.
Every poll which has been conducted recently predicted that no Socialist candidate would get through the first round of the presidential election process next year. Pollsters suggest that the election will actually come down to a fight between the centre-right candidate Francois Fillon and the leader of the far-right National Front, Marine Le Pen. However, the pollsters have been proved incorrect in the British Brexit vote and the American election.