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Awash In Refugees And Terror Attacks, French President Now Sitting At Stunning 4 Percent Approval

REUTERS/Charles Platiau

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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French President Francois Hollande’s approval rating dropped to just 4 percent amidst a series of public missteps and a heightened threat of domestic terror.

Hollande was already hovering around 11 percent approval before a bombshell book was published titled “A President Shouldn’t Say That.” The book quoted Hollande disparaging France’s judicial system as “a cowardly institution” and insulting the national soccer team. His comments may be the nail in the coffin of his decision to run for reelection, as former French President Nicholas Sarkozy mounts his own bid for the presidency.

Hollande struck a deal with the EU days after the Paris attacks committing France to accept 30,000 refugees through 2017. France recently engaged refugees camping out in Calais in a high-profile showdown. Significant numbers of refugees in Calais were hoping to get into Britain. The British government built a wall to keep the refugees out, and French authorities had to dismantle the camp amid protests from resident refugees.

Hollande faces a competitive presidential primary in January, marking the first time in 50 years a sitting president must fight for his own re-nomination. Senior officials in the Socialist Party are already backing away from Hollande, with the speaker of the lower house questioning whether “he [Hollande] really wants to be a candidate,” in an interview with French24 news.

Hollande’s approval rating is particularly stunning given his historical popularity in France. He held a 63% approval rating in 2012, and stayed above 40% amidst the al-Qaida attack on Charlie Hebdo, and the November, 2015, Islamic State attack in Paris. His current approval rating gives him the lowest rating recorded in the three decades France tracked the figure.

Amidst Hollande’s approval ratings dive, National Front candidate Marine Le Pen is surging in popularity. Le Pen received nearly 30 percent approval in an Oct. 12 poll of French voters, which makes her a serious contender.

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