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No hope for Hollande if he stands for re-election, poll finds

AFP archive | François Hollande is one of the least popular French presidents in modern times.

Unpopular French President François Hollande will fail to make it past the first round in 2017’s presidential election in most realistic scenarios, according to an opinion poll published Monday.


Against all the leading mainstream right-wing contenders, Hollande will fail to take second place, with Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front coming first in all but one case, the TNS Sofres-OnePoint survey found.

The conservative opposition Les Républicains (LR) party is due to hold its primaries in November 2016 to choose its candidate for the 2017 vote.

Here is how Socialist Hollande, one of the least popular presidents of modern times and who has so far failed to tackle his main policy objective of reducing France’s sky-high unemployment, would fare against the main LR hopefuls and Marine Le Pen:

Alain Juppé

Alain Juppé, who was Prime Minister from 1995 to 1997 under Jacques Chirac, has a strong political pedigree that is respected by voters. Under Nicolas Sarkozy, he went on to become environment minister (2007) then defence minister from 2010 to 2011 and finally foreign minister between 2011 and 2012.

According to the survey, he is the only candidate who would beat Marine Le Pen in the first round.

Juppé, who is currently mayor of Bordeaux, is the bookies’ favourite to win overall in 2017. According to the poll, he would take 35 percent in the first round, with Marine Le Pen coming second with 26 percent, and Hollande trailing third with just 13 percent support.

Nicolas Sarkozy

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy, embroiled in a seemingly never-ending series of scandals relating to his time in office (2007-2012), would come second in the first round with 24 percent, according to the poll, behind Marine Le Pen on 29 percent. Hollande would languish in third place with 16 percent.

François Fillon

The poll predicts François Fillon, who was prime minister under Sarkozy from 2007 to 2012, would also take second place with 23 percent, behind Marine Le Pen on 32 percent. Hollande would once again be at the bottom of the pile, with just 14 percent.

Bruno Le Maire

Bruno Le Maire, who served as agriculture minister under Nicolas Sarkozy from 2009 to 2012, follows the pattern by also coming second to Le Pen, with 21 percent to her 30 percent. In this scenario, Hollande would come fourth, on 11 percent, behind far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon who would take 16 percent.

Hollande widely rejected

Only 11 percent of voters want Hollande to present himself as a candidate at all, according to the survey. Even among confirmed Socialist supporters, only 39 percent feel he should stand.

Many more French voters – 28 percent – think former banker and Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron should represent the Socialist Party, even though he is not a party member and recently launched his own political movement “En Marche !” (which roughly translates as “Forward!").

This puts Macron well ahead of other Socialist hopefuls, including Prime Minister Manuel Valls, with just 14 percent approval, and Martine Aubry, with 12 percent.

The opinion poll was conducted on April 15 and 16, questioning 1011 registered voters across France.

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