“The Power, the exercise of power, the places of power, the rites of power have never made me lose my clarity and today I am aware of the risks of my approach. So I have decided not to stand in the presidential election.”
And there in a whirl the most unpopular president in the history of the 5th French Republic becomes the first president not to stand for a second term.
At least now he will be free from the avalanche of criticism that has dogged his presidency.
Compared to his predecessors François Hollande’s tenure has been marked by low confidence and low satisfaction.
French apatite for their head of state dropped to a humiliating 4 percent at one point.
Hollande’s decision is profoundly political. He is acutely aware of the move away from traditional politics and the threat of Marine Le Pen and the Front National. He knows the French economy is stagnant and jobs hard to come by.
As well as suffering in the political arena his private life made for lurid reading, his affair with actress Julie Gayet and his savaging by former lover Valerie Trierweler in her book ‘Thank You for This Moment,’ it became a best seller and an excruciating tome for a president.
Even his progressive policies such as same sex marriage split the nation and protests continue to demand
“traditional family values.”
On January 7,2015 life in France changed the Charlie Hebdo massacre quickly followed by the mass killings in Paris and the carnage in Nice left the French in shock and in a state of emergency to this day.
The deprivation of nationality plan to withdraw French citizenship from dual nationals convicted of crimes against the state caused further uproar and division in a nation with a Muslim minority of around five million.
Proposed changes to France’s stringent labour laws, the so-called ‘El-Khomri law,’ saw Hollande’s support among left-leaning voters wither, his natural constituency had deserted.
During his time in the Élysée Palace five ministers tendered resignations, some because he was not left-leaning enough, others because he lacked ambition.
Potential Socialist candidates are now jockeying for position in the leadership stakes, on a day President François Hollande appeared… presidential.