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French president Francois Hollande will not run for second term

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France's Socialist president Francois Hollande has announced he will not seek a second term in office next year.
Mr Hollande is the most unpopular leader in the country's modern history following high unemployment and weak economic growth as well as security fears after a series of terror attacks.
It is the first time since 1958 that an incumbent French president has not sought re-election.His decision throws the selection of a Socialist candidate for next year's presidential race wide open.
In a televised address, Mr Hollande, 62, said: "I am aware today of the risk that going down a route that would not gather sufficient support would entail."
He said he decided against running again because he wanted to give the Socialists a chance to win "against conservatism and extremism".
He said he remained "lucid" about his chances of getting wide backing within the party, which remains deeply divided over his policies.
Video: Mr Fillon now faces a possible showdown with the far-right's Marine Le Pen
Mr Hollande added: "In the months to come my sole duty will be to continue to lead the state, the mandate for which you elected me in 2012."
His popularity soon began to decline with a perceived lack of leadership and flip-flops on key issues, particularly tax reform, which dismayed many on the left.
If he had won the party nomination he would have faced a tough task to even make the second round of voting in the national election.
All recent polls have predicted neither Mr Hollande nor any other Socialist candidate would make it past round one.
The polls suggest there will be a run-off battle between centre-right conservative candidate Francois Fillon and the leader of the far-right National Front, Marine Le Pen.
The left is deeply split as it approaches the two-round presidential election on 23 April and 7 May.
Several Socialists, including former economy minister Arnaud Montebourg, have said they will take part in the party primaries in January.
A few days ago, Mr Hollande's prime minister and number two, Manuel Valls, said he was "ready" to compete.
Video: French presidential candidate: Who is Francois Fillon?
Another of his ex-ministers, Emmanuel Macron, and leftist firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon have said they will run in the presidential election but without taking part in the primaries.
Mr Hollande had been expected to say in the coming weeks whether he would run again.
The president repeatedly claimed he would only seek re-election if he was able to curb the unemployment rate, which has hovered for years around 10%.
At the weekend, the conservatives chose Mr Fillon as candidate for Les Republicains party.
On Thursday, he tweeted: "This evening, the President of the Republic admits with lucidity, that his patent failure prevents him from going on further.
"This five-year term is ending in a political mess and the dissolving of power."
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