Hollande's Popularity Plumbs Record Low in French Opinion Poll

  • French president's approval rating dropped to 17 percent
  • Prime Minister Valls also fell to lowest since taking office

French President Francois Hollande.

Photographer: Matthew Mirabelli/AFP via Getty Images

Francois Hollande’s approval rating fell to a record low as his attempts to fight unemployment and improve security draw fire even from his own supporters.

Hollande’s popularity dropped 4 percentage points in a month to 17 percent in March, the Elabe polling institute said, eclipsing the 18 percent low he set in October. Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who took office in April 2014, also slipped 4 points, to 23 percent.

The French leader, who hasn’t yet said if he will seek a second mandate in 2017, is getting hammered in both the polls and in parliament as lawmakers from his Socialist group challenge his plans to cut protection for workers. Next it may be in the streets.

Hollande this week delayed an overhaul of French labor rules after the country’s main labor unions all opposed the plan. They have scheduled a day of national protests on Wednesday, threatening to bring public transport in Paris to a halt, with a second day of action planned for March 31. Hollande’s bill would have essentially gutted the law that limits the French work week to 35 hours.

Unemployment has become a key source of discontent for the French, with the country’s 10 percent jobless rate running at twice that of the U.K. and Germany.

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