Hollande Says He’s Leaving France Better Than He Found It Despite Dismal Approval Ratings

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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France’s outgoing President Francois Hollande said he is leaving France “in a better state” than he found it while addressing supporters Sunday.

Hollande officially turned over power to the new president, Emmanuel Macron, at the Élysée Palace in Paris. He left office with remarkably low approval ratings, which dipped as low as 4 percent in October. He will hand over a France which is still under a nation-wide state of emergency due to a string of terrorist attacks over the last year and a half.

“I know there is still so much misfortune, so much unemployment, so much hardship,” said Hollande in his address. “But allow me to tell you, I leave a country — France — in a better state than I found it.”

The outgoing president said that there is always a high expectation when the left wing comes into power. The left is expected to “straighten out accounts” and “improve the competitiveness of companies.”

Hollande insisted that France has lived up to its duties under his leadership, particularly regarding the development of Africa, the climate and the planet.

Macron, who defeated populist candidate Marine Le Pen in the May 7 presidential election, inherited a country which has been under a state of emergency since the Bataclan terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015. Thousands of police and soldiers now guard the streets as a safety measure. Armed guards have become a regular sight at France’s most notable locations.

The new president promised he would take the necessary steps to fight terrorism and help find a solution to the current immigration crisis, among the other major issues of the day.

“We will take all our responsibilities to provide, every time it’s needed, a relevant response to big contemporary crises,” said Macron in his inauguration address.

Macron’s first major challenge will be ensuring he has a friendly parliament to work with. France’s citizenry is slated to head to the polls again in June to elect representatives. Le Pen has promised she will be “at the head” of the fight leading up to the election.

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