France Presidency: Hollande Not to Seek Re-Election
France's President Francois Hollande announced Thursday he will not seek a second term in office.
French voters will go to the polls in April and May 2017, but Hollande, who has low popularity ratings, said he will not stand for re-election.
"I am speaking to you this evening to inform you of the decision I have taken in view of the forthcoming presidential election," he said. "I have decided not to be a candidate in the presidential election."
It is the first time since 1958, when France's fifth republic was created, that an incumbent president had not sought re-election.
Hollande's Socialist Party will now have to find a candidate to run against Francois Fillon, of the center-right Republican Party, and Marine Le Pen, of the far-right Front National.
Hollande, 62, defeated Nicolas Sarkozy in 2012 to become the first Socialist president to win a French election since François Mitterrand's re-election in 1988.
In announcing he won't run again, Hollande spoke against the ideas of Fillon and other conservatives.
"The far right calls us to retreat, to exit Europe and the world. They are taking as reference what happened in the United States of America," he said, referring to the election of Donald Trump. "I am clearly telling you, the greatest danger is protectionism. ..."
Fillon quickly fired back at the man he hopes to replace at the Elysee Palace, posting on Twitter: "This evening, the President of the Republic admitted clearly that his clear failure prohibits him from going any further."
"This five-year term ends in political chaos and the collapse of power. More than ever, the recovery of France must be built on solid foundations."
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team