Current French President François Hollande will have to compete for his party’s nomination in the 2017 presidential election, thanks to an announcement Saturday that his Socialist Party will hold primary elections early next year.
The decision is a further reflection of Hollande’s profound unpopularity with the electorate and the continuing drop of his approval ratings, which hover between 11 and 15 percent, making him the least-liked French president since the late 1950s. The primary contest will mark the first time in more than 50 years that a sitting French president is forced to vie for his party’s nomination.
The party’s decision is a bid to boost its chances of holding on to the presidency. It comes in the wake of a survey by polling firm BVA that indicates that Hollande would come up short against several of the likely candidates of the opposition Les Républicains party (formerly the UMP).
Hollande’s image has been tarnished by transport and garbage collection strikes and by ongoing violent protests backed by labour unions against a proposed labour law. He may also be paying for a general uneasiness that has gripped France since terrorist attacks in November 2015 killed 130 people in the French capital.
The primaries are open to candidates from the Socialist Party as well as from the Radical Left and the Union of Democrats and Ecologists. The Green party (EELV) and the Communist party were invited to participate but declined.
The window for individuals to announce their candidacy is expected to run from December 1 to December 15 and the proposed dates for the primaries are January 22 and 29.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2016-06-19