In a televised speech on Thursday, President François Hollande announced that he would not run for re-election in France’s upcoming presidential election in 2017.
This decision didn’t completely come out of left field; Hollande, a socialist, has been considered the most unpopular president in the history of France, with approval ratings sitting at a mere 4 percent.
Since 2012, Hollande’s presidency has been plagued with bureaucratic inability, terrorist attacks, and scandals — including the publication of A President Shouldn’t Say That, a tell-all by two French journalists in which Hollande managed to insult Nicolas Sarkozy, the judiciary, immigrants, pro athletes, and intellectuals. Policy-wise, Hollande has struggled to lower France’s unemployment rate, which now sits at 9.9 percent—the lowest it’s been since 2012, but still not the speedy economic turnaround many had hoped to see. No doubt, the previous terrorist attacks in Paris and Nice also negatively affected Hollande’s approval ratings.
Hollande’s decision not to run has now opened up the Socialist Party’s presidential bid, whose primaries are set to take place in January. Whoever wins will face-off against the Republicans’ François Fillon and the National Front’s Marine Le Pen.