French President Francois Hollande Might Give Up

Hollande merkelREUTERS/Sergei KarpukhinPresident Francois Hollande attend a meeting with G20 leaders and G20 business leaders in St.Petersburg September 6, 2013.

French President Francois Hollande conducted a rare, 90-minute interview on prime-time television Thursday night.

During it, he strongly hinted he wouldn’t pursue a second term if unemployment persists in his country, the New York Times reports.

“If I don’t succeed by the end of my term, do you think I will present myself to the French people in 2017? The French would be unforgiving and rightly so,” Hollande said, according to the Times.

Currently, the unemployment rate in France stands at 10.5%. The EU Commission forecasts it will stay above 10% through 2016, roughly the same as when Hollande took office, though he promised the rate would decrease by the end of 2013, the Associated Press reports.

The French president has since called that promise a “mistake.”

In France, joblessness grows the quickest among people older than 50 but still remains high for those under 24, according to the Times. Long-term unemployment has also surged to 42.8% of all job-seekers.

In September, economy minister Emmanuel Macron called mass unemployment a “fever,” according to the Telegraph. He blamed the government’s unpopularity on a lack of results.

“We didn’t go far enough in our first two years,” he told the Telegraph. “We didn’t reform anything, and we are paying for it.”

Earlier this year, Hollande wanted to speed up reform efforts, taking steps to increase homebuilding and give tax breaks to poorer households. A poor housing market has especially plagued France, with stats down to a 16-year low.

Back in September — mid-way through his five-year term — Hollande started to acknowledge his precarious political situation.He said, however, he’d push forward with controversial market reforms even if it meant tanking his future campaign, according to the Independent.

“I am President,” he said, according to the Independent. “I am not a candidate.”

Often considered the most unpopular president in French history, Hollande’s approval rating hit an all-time low of 12% this week, according to the AP.

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