By Alexandria Sage
Half-way into his five-year mandate the popularity of French President Francois Hollande hit a new low on Thursday, hours before the Socialist leader addresses the nation to defend his shaky record on the economy.
In the worst score for a president in modern-day polling, Hollande received a 12 per cent approval rating in the monthly survey by pollster YouGov, down 15 percent from the prior month. Other recent polls have put his popularity at 13 per cent.
Earlier the chief executive of France’s third-largest bank, Credit Agricole, slammed Hollande’s government for its uncertain efforts to kickstart the eurozone’s second largest economy.
“The absence of a clear vision and lack of coherence in economic policies is weighing on confidence and therefore investment and economic activity,” CEO Jean-Paul Chifflet said during a conference call to present the bank’s results.
Hollande is due later to face journalists and members of the public for a question-and-answer session on prime-time TF1 evening television. He will likely face criticism about broken promises to cut rising unemployment and public deficits.
Hollande failed to meet his goal of reversing the rise in unemployment by the end of last year. A pro-business strategy to boost the economy through tax breaks for companies who boost hiring has alienated many of his left-wing former backers.
His impopularity has stoked a backlash from rebel lawsmakers on the left of the Socialist Party seeking to block his supply-side economic reforms, even as the far-right National Front has made inroads with disillusioned French voters.
A Harris Interactive poll published on Monday found that 92 per cent of respondents said they were not satisfied with Hollande’s track record, with 96 per cent saying he had not held to his campaign promises made before coming to power in 2012.