(Reuters) French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday he would not seek a second term in office in the presidential election in 2017, an unprecedented move that leaves the way open for other left-wing candidates.
It is the first time in decades that an incumbent French president has not sought re-election. Hollande is the most unpopular president on record.
“I am aware today of the risk that going down a route that would not gather sufficient support would entail, so I have decided not to be a candidate in the presidential election,” a somber-looking Hollande said in a televised address.
All recent polls have predicted that neither Hollande nor any other Socialist candidate would make it past the first round of the election. They predict a run-off battle between center-right candidate Francois Fillon and the leader of the far-right National Front, Marine Le Pen.
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