France: Hollande renounces running for 2017 Presidential elections
French President Francois Hollande Thursday stunned the country as he announced he would not contest next year presidential elections.
“I have decided not to run for presidential election, and the renewal of my mandate,” he said in a speech at his office.
The 62 years old President has had a mandate peppered with challenges ranging from economic hardship, soaring unemployment rate to terrorism.
After taking over former and unpopular Sarkozy, Hollande has seen his own popularity waning dramatically making him one the most unpopular French President of all times.
His stance on issues of terrorism, nationality denial for people accused of terrorism have created rift between him and some members of his own Socialist Party and even within his own government.
Polls cast him fourth, behind Francois Fillon (center-right, Les Republicains) and Marine Le Pen of the far Right if he runs for the elections.
Despite the challenges Hollande put premium on his legacy arguing that he has been able to bring down the unemployment rate and face off terrorist without alienating French values (human rights).
Hollande surprising announcement according to analysts will cause a candidacy race in the party.
Aside from already known figures, analysts believe that underdogs like education minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, health minister Marisol Touraine and even Segolene Royal, minister of ecology could come forward.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls is tipped favorite to represent the party at next year elections even though candidates such as Arnaud Montebourg, Benoît Hamon, Marie-Noëlle Lienemann or Gerard Filoche are also expected to reshape trends in the party.
Candidates are expected to announce their candidacy until December 15. Party candidate will be elected on January 29.