Hollande won’t seek second term if unemployment continues to rise

French President François Hollande on Thursday said he would not seek re-election in 2017 if unemployment continued to rise as he made a primetime appeal to French voters to trust him to turn around the country’s struggling economy, France 24 reports.

He admitted he had made mistakes as president, acknowledging that he had overestimated the possibility of curbing unemployment figures, which reached 3.43 million jobless in September.

Hollande, whose approval ratings have sunk to a record low halfway through his presidency, also took the opportunity to make a number of promises and announce new measures, notably that no new taxes would be introduced starting next year.

“Starting next year, there will be no additional taxes of any kind,” he said live on TF1 television. “And tax cuts that have already been announced [for France’s lowest earners] will be maintained.”

For more than 90 minutes, Hollande fielded questions from well-known television and radio hosts, as well as four ordinary people who shared their everyday challenges and concerns with the head of state.

The question-and-answer session touched on a wide variety of subjects, including the pensions system, entrepreneurship and the migration of families away from rural areas, but often returned to France’s near-stagnant economy and the difficulties people face in finding jobs.

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