10:55 GMT27 January 2020
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    The President of France, Francois Hollande, is facing the worst crisis in his political career as his party descends into chaos, his popularity rating plummets to an appalling 19 percent and he mulls over whether or not even to stand again for the presidency in 2017.

    Hollande has faced increasing hostility within his own party in recent months for his failure to get a grip on the sluggish French economy or to bring down unemployment, which currently stands at an 18-year high of 10.6 percent. He is also facing a stiff backlash over his attempt to change the French employment laws to make it easier for companies to sack employees and to abandon the 35-hour week.

    His lack of authority has prompted Thomas Guénolé, a political analyst for Paris-based institute Vox Politica, to say the media were "refusing to acknowledge the obvious: that Hollande is finished." The infighting within his Socialist Party has reached such proportions that Guénolé said:

    "Right now, the Socialists' election prospects are so bleak anyone who carries the party's mantle would be heading for the abattoir."

    Hollande is struggling to maintain any sense of leadership with 79 percent of the French saying they are dissatisfied with his performance as president, in a recent poll. He enjoyed a surge in popularity following the Charlie Hebdo and November 13 attacks, but this reflected more on his role as president of a country gripped by terror than his personal rating.

    'Enough is Enough!'

    Hollande's failure to tackle his domestic economic and unemployment issues have left the country is darkened mood. Unemployment is nearing 4 million, there is considerable industrial unrest — not least within Air France which has been losing money hand-over-fist for years. A pilots' strike has added to the airline's woes and his has announced 2,900 job losses.

    His counterterrorism measures — which included extending the state of emergency, allowing for considerable extra police and surveillance powers — proved too much for many, who saw this as an intrusion into French liberties. His justice minister Christiane Taubira resigned over the issue.

    Martine Aubry, the mayor of Lille — along with 17 other left-wing figures — wrote a scathing column in the newspaper accusing Hollande and his prime minister, Manuel Valls, of crippling both the Socialist Party (PS) and the country. 

    "Enough is enough. What will remain of the ideas of Socialism when, day after day, its principles and its basis are being undermined?" Aubry wrote.

    On Tuesday, her supporters quit the party's executive board, cementing the split at the heart of France's ruling party. Hollande's poor personal ratings and the deep divisions within his party have — so far — led him to refrain from announcing his candidacy for the 2017 presidential race, which could yet see Front National leader Marine Le Pen poll more than him in the preliminary elections in November.

    Related:

    Hollande Not Ruling Out Possible First Round Defeat in Next Elections
    Under-Fire Hollande Reshuffles Cabinet to Save Political Skin
    Hollande Drops Out of France’s Top 50 Most Liked Persons Rating
    Marine Le Pen Slams Counterterrorism Plan Proposed by Prime Minister Valls
    Tags:
    State of Emergency, domestic politics, polls, terror attack, popularity, rating, elections, November 13, 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, French Presidential Election 2017, Charlie Hebdo attack, French Socialist Party, Front National, Francois Hollande, Marine Le Pen, France
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