• France's news in English
Hollande vows to decide on presidency bid at end of year
Photo: AFP

Hollande vows to decide on presidency bid at end of year

AFP · 15 Apr 2016, 07:12

Published: 15 Apr 2016 07:12 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
Questioned by four members of the public on live TV, Hollande insisted he would pursue attempts to reform the labour market and said he wanted to be judged on his efforts to reduce stubbornly high unemployment, which has dogged his four years in office.
"I have undertaken policies which are producing results now and which will continue to produce results," he said. "I ask to be judged on the issue of unemployment."
The jobless rate in France is around 10 percent and rising, while it is falling in other large European economies.
Opinion polls on Thursday showed nearly 90 percent of voters take a negative view of Hollande's presidency.
Protesters demonstrating against the labour law reforms clashed with riot police in Paris and several other cities.
A crowd of around 1,700 massed in the capital in the afternoon, and police said seven officers and four protesters were injured in the ensuing scuffles.
Six people were arrested after protesters started throwing chairs and bottles at police, who responded with tear gas. Four youths were also arrested on the outskirts of Paris.
As Hollande's interview came to a end, a group of around 300 demonstrators said they would march on the Elysee Palace, but were stopped by law enforcement.
"You say that France is doing better but like many French people, we struggle to make ends meet. Today we are stuck... for me, France is sick," said protester Antoine Demeyer, a bus driver.
The protests were the latest in a series of demonstrations against reforms the government argues will cut unemployment, but critics say are weighed heavily in favour of employers and will erode job security.
Hollande rejected calls for the measures to be withdrawn, but conceded that "corrections" would be made to the draft law in parliament.
'Things are improving' 
Hollande's popularity ratings are among the lowest ever for a post-war French leader, but he insisted progress was being made.
"Things are better -- there is more growth, there are fewer debts and fewer taxes. Competitiveness is up," he said.
"That is what I have done in the last four years and that is why I am going to pursue it to the end."
On the international front, he said France had played an "exemplary" role in efforts to end the five-year war in Syria.
"France has supported the Syrian opposition, it has fought Daesh (another name for the Islamic State group), and France wanted to intervene when chemical weapons" were being used, Hollande said.
Story continues below…
"France has been exemplary on Syria."
Polls released Thursday made grim reading for Hollande.
One for BFMTV showed 87 percent of voters had an unfavourable opinion of his four years at the helm, and he did not fare much better among supporters of his own Socialist Party, with 69 percent backing that view.
Another poll, for Le Parisien newspaper, showed 69 percent of people will not change their minds even if he manages to reduce the jobless total.
Three-quarters of respondents said they believe he should abandon hopes of standing for a second term "to allow the Left to find a better candidate".
The 2017 presidential race is impossible to call at this point because the main contenders are yet to be selected.
Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France to scrap special prison wings for dangerous jihadists
Photo: AFP

The experiment has been ditched.

Refugee crisis
What rights do Calais migrants have in France?
Photo: AFP

Can the migrants work or claim social benefits or travel freely inside Europe?

Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
A model at the Pulp Fiction fashion show in Paris that represents society's diverse spectrum . Photo: AFP

Hold on, aren't the French all meant to be finely toned specimens with not an ounce of fat on them?

France poised to send bulldozers into Calais Jungle
Photo: AFP

As hundreds of migrants leave, the bulldozers are set to tear down the sprawling Calais shanty town on Tuesday.

UK to spend €40 million on securing Calais border
Photo: AFP

Britain spending big on security in Calais.

Millionaire Riviera hotel boss kidnapped in broad daylight
The city of Nice where the millionaire was bundled into a car infront of shocked onlookers. Photo: AFP

The millionaire head of a luxury hotel in the French Riviera resort of Cannes was kidnapped in Nice in front of shocked onlookers in the middle of the day on Monday.

Where exactly in France are Calais migrants being sent?
Photo: AFP

Here's where the 8,000 migrants in Calais are heading.

The annoying questions only a half French, half British person can answer
Photo: Beery/Flickr/AFP

Being half French, half British is means you get asked a lot of questions (and some of them can be a little annoying.)

Migrants bussed out of Calais Jungle to all corners of France
All photos: AFP

Hundreds of migrants are being bussed across France on Monday ahead of the demolition of the Jungle camp.

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
A Prophet. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

Looking for something to watch?

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available