Francois Hollande decides not to seek re-election

PARIS (TIP): In a surprise move Francois Hollande has announced he will not seek a second term as president of France.

“I’ve decided not to be a candidate to renew my mandate,” the Socialist leader said in a live televised address.

The 62-year-old, faced with very low popularity ratings, has become the first sitting president in modern French history not to seek re-election.

Conservative Republicans party candidate Francois Fillon is seen as a favorite in next year’s election. Recent opinion polls suggest far-right┬ácontender Marine Le Pen from the National Front could be Mr Fillon’s closest challenger. “In the months to come, my only duty will be to continue to lead my country,” Mr Hollande said on Thursday, December 1. “The world, Europe, France have faced particularly serious challenges during my mandate. In these particularly challenging circumstances I wanted to maintain national cohesion,” he said.