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Paris — French President Francois Hollande dramatically announced Thursday he would not seek re-election next year as he bowed to historic low approval ratings after a troubled five years in power. The withdrawal means the 62-year-old Socialist leader is the first president of France’s fifth republic, founded in 1958, to step aside after only one term. "I have decided that I will not be a candidate," Hollande said in a solemn televised statement from the Elysee Palace in Paris during which he defended his record. He conceded that he was unable to unite his deeply divided Socialist party behind his candidacy ahead of the presidential election in April and May next year. "In the months to come, my only duty will be to continue to lead my country," he said. Hollande’s popularity has hit rock bottom after a term in office marked by U-turns on major policies, terror attacks, high unemployment and embarrassing revelations about his private life. A new poll on Wednesday predicted he would ...

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