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POLITICS

Former French President Hollande criticizes Macron, warns he has ‘not retired’ from politics

Former French president Francois Hollande said on Wednesday he has not turned his back on politics, after criticizing his successor and former protégé in the Elysee Palace, Emmanuel Macron.

Former French President Hollande criticizes Macron, warns he has 'not retired' from politics
Macron and Hollande pictured at their handover ceremony. Photo: AFP

“Even when I decided… not to stand (for re-election) I had said I would not retire from political life,” the Socialist Hollande, 63, told TV5 Monde television.

The former president on Tuesday said the 39-year-old Macron should not “demand needless sacrifices from the French”.

Macron, elected in May, has come under fire for budget and public spending cuts.

The former investment banker launched his presidential bid in August last year, promising to overcome France's entrenched right-left divide.

Hollande had plucked Macron from virtual obscurity to make him his financial advisor before naming him economy minister in 2014.

READ ALSO: How Emmanuel Macron went from top of the class to president of France

The former president on Tuesday questioned Macron's moves to “make the job market more flexible than we already have.”

He issued the warning as Macron's Labour Minister Muriel Penicaud began meetings with union leaders over labour reforms, an issue that sparked a series of sometimes violent protests across France last year.

On May 14th, the day Macron was inaugurated, Hollande said of his own political future “you should never say never in life”.

Even if “the temptation to intervene can be great,” Hollande said, he did not want to be a “backseat driver” during the first days and weeks of the Macron presidency.

Hollande had record low approval ratings after failing to make good on his pledge to rein in unemployment, which stagnated at around ten percent throughout most of his five years in office.

He decided in December not to stand for re-election.

The Socialists' candidate Benoit Hamon finished a humiliating fifth place as voters abandoned the former ruling party, crippled by deep ideological divisions.

OPINION: Hollande doesn't deserve to go down in history as 'France's most unpopular president'

FILM

French film stars cut hair in support of Iran protests

Video shows several big-name French movie stars cutting their own hair in protest

French film stars cut hair in support of Iran protests

French film stars, including Isabelle Huppert, Juliette Binoche and Marion Cotillard, have cut locks of their hair in an Instagram video published on Wednesday in solidarity with women protesters in Iran.

Charlotte Rampling and Jane Birkin, two stars with close ties to France, also appeared in the video.

It came a day after more than 1,000 French film professionals, including actor Lea Seydoux and Cannes Film Festival head Thierry Fremaux, signed a petition “supporting the revolt by women in Iran”.

Women removing their headscarves and cutting their hair has been a key image of the protests in Iran that broke out last month.

They were sparked by the death of a young woman, Mahsa Amini, following her arrest by Iran’s “morality police” who enforce Iran’s strict dress code that requires women to cover their hair in public.

“The Iranian people, with women in front, are risking their lives to protest. These people want only the most basic freedoms. These women, these men, deserve our support,” said a message accompanying the video on Instagram.

The campaign was launched by a group of lawyers.

“It is impossible not to denounce, again and always, this terrible repression,” their message added.

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