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France's Hollande to say in December if he's running again

French President Francois Hollande delivers his speech at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, eastern France, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. Russian President Vladimir Putin indefinitely postponed a visit to France amid differences over its program, the Kremlin said Tuesday, a move that comes amid a bitter rift over Syria. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)
October 12, 2016 - 10:09 AM

PARIS - France's Socialist President Francois Hollande said in an interview published Wednesday that he will announce in December whether he will run for re-election next year.

Hollande told the weekly magazine L'Obs that "until then, as president of the Republic, I will continue to advocate tirelessly" for his government's policy.

Hollande, the most unpopular president in modern French history, said he wants to be "judged on his record."

He also said conservative candidates aiming to be in France's two-round April-May presidential election —including former President Nicolas Sarkozy— would go backward on longstanding rights held by French workers, such as the 35-hour workweek.

At the beginning of his term in 2012, Hollande pledged not to run again if he didn't succeed in cutting France's high unemployment. The rate has since hovered over 10 per cent.

Hollande argued he has chosen a policy of tax cuts for businesses in the hope of boosting hiring, and the impact of that kind of policy is slower but sustainable, he said.

The French president also criticized a "lack of power" from the United States to make peace, in a reference to the conflict in Syria. And he denounced an "abuse of power to recover money".

He said the U.S. "takes offence" when the European Commission tries to get American companies like Google to pay taxes, but isn't embarrassed to do the same thing.

France's largest bank, BNP Paribas, was convicted last year of violating U.S. sanctions by processing transactions for clients in blacklisted countries. The bank agreed to forfeit $8.9 billion as it pleaded guilty to state charges.

Hollande's interview comes the same day as the publication of a book that includes countless comments by the Socialist leader on his own presidency, written by two Le Monde journalists.

"A president should not say that", by Gerard Davet and Fabrice Lhomme, is the latest of a series of recent books published by French journalists as Hollande seems to be eyeing a re-election bid.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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