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François Hollande

Hollande, a relative unknown outside of France, has consistently topped opinion polls [Reuters]

François Hollande

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François Hollande
President of the General Council of Corrèze
Assumed office
20 March 2008
Preceded by Jean-Pierre Dupont
First Secretary of the Socialist Party
In office
27 November 1997 – 27 November 2008
Preceded by Lionel Jospin
Succeeded by Martine Aubry
Mayor of Tulle
In office
17 March 2001 – 17 March 2008
Preceded by Raymond-Max Aubert
Succeeded by Bernard Combes
Deputy of the National Assembly
for Corrèze’s 1st Constituency
Assumed office
12 June 1997
Preceded by Raymond-Max Aubert
In office
12 June 1988 – 16 May 1993
Preceded by Proportional representation
Succeeded by Raymond-Max Aubert
Personal details
Born 12 August 1954 (age 57)
Political party Socialist Party
Domestic partner Ségolène Royal (1973–2007)
Valérie Trierweiler (2007–present)
Children 4
Alma mater HEC Paris
ENA Strasbourg
Institute of Political Studies
“Hollande” redirects here. For the region known in French by that name, see Holland. For the country also sometimes known by that name, see Netherlands.

François Gérard Georges Hollande (French pronunciation: [fʁɑ̃swa ɔlɑ̃d]; born 12 August 1954) is a French politician who was the First Secretary of the French Socialist Party from 1997 to 2008. He has also been a Deputy of the National Assembly of France for Corrèze’s 1st Constituency since 1997, and previously represented that seat from 1988 to 1993. He was the Mayor of Tulle from 2001 to 2008, and has been the President of the General Council of Corrèze since 2008.

On 16 October 2011, Hollande was nominated to be the Socialist and Left Radical Party candidate in the 2012 presidential election. His main opponent is incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy.[1]



Early life and education

Hollande was born in RouenSeine-Maritime, the son of Nicole Tribert, a social worker, and Georges Hollande, an ear, nose, and throat doctor.[2][3] He studied at HEC ParisENA Strasbourg, and the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris.[4] Immediately after graduating, he was employed to work as a councillor in the Court of Audit.

Early political career

After volunteering to work for François Mitterrand‘s ultimately unsuccessful campaign in the 1974 presidential election when he was a student, Hollande joined the Socialist Party five years later. He was quickly spotted by Jacques Attali, a senior adviser to Mitterrand, who arranged for Hollande to stand for election to the French National Assembly in 1981 in Corrèze against future President Jacques Chirac, who was then the Leader of the Rally for the Republic, a Neo-Gaullist party. Hollande lost to Chirac in the first round, although he would go on to become a Special Adviser to the newly-elected President Mitterrand, before serving as a staffer for Max Gallo, the government’s spokesman. After becoming a Municipal Councillor for Ussel in 1983, he contested Corrèze for a second time in 1988, this time being elected to the National Assembly. In 1989, he was also elected as the Mayor of Tulle. Hollande lost his bid for re-election to the National Assembly in the so-called “blue wave” of the 1993 election, described as such due to the amount of seats gained by the Right at the expense of the Socialist Party.

First Secretary of the Socialist Party

Hollande with Ségolène Royal at a rally for the 2007 elections

As the end of Mitterrand’s term in office approached, the Socialist Party was torn by a struggle of internal factions, each seeking to influence the direction of the party. Hollande pleaded for reconciliation and for the party to unite behind Jacques DelorsPresident of the European Commission but Delors renounced ambitions to run for presidency in 1995, leading to Lionel Jospin resuming his earlier position as the leader of the party, selecting Hollande to become the official party spokesman. Hollande went on to contest Corrèze once again in 1997, returning to the National Assembly. That same year, Jospin became the Prime Minister of France, and Hollande won the election to succeed him as First Secretary of the French Socialist Party, a position he would hold for eleven years. Because of the very strong position of the Socialist Party within the French Government during this time, Hollande’s position lead some to refer to him the “Vice Prime Minister”. Hollande would go on to be elected the Mayor of Tulle in 2001, an office he would hold for the next seven years.

The immediate resignation of Jospin from politics following his shock defeat by far-right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen in the first round of the 2002 presidential electionforced Hollande to become the public face of the party for the 2002 legislative election but, although he managed to limit defeats and was re-elected in his own constituency, the Socialists lost nationally. In order to prepare for the 2003 Party Congress in Dijon, he obtained the support of many notable personalities of the party and was re-elected First Secretary against opposition from left-wing factions. After the triumph of the Left in the 2004 regional elections, Hollande was cited as a potential presidential candidate, but the Socialists were divided on the European Constitution, and Hollande’s support for the ill-fated “yes” position in the French referendum on the European Constitution caused friction within the party. Although Hollande was re-elected as First Secretary at the Le Mans Congress in 2005, his authority over the party began to decline from this point onwards. Eventually his domestic partner, Ségolène Royal, was chosen to represent the Socialist Party in the2007 presidential election, where she would lose to Nicolas Sarkozy. Hollande was widely blamed for the poor performances of the Socialist Party in the 2007 elections, and he announced that he would not seek another term as First Secretary. Hollande publicly declared his support for Bertrand Delanoe, the Mayor of Paris, although it was Martine Aubry who would go on to win the race to succeed him in 2008.

Following his resignation as First Secretary, Hollande was immediately elected to replace Jean-Pierre Dupont as the President of the General Council of Corrèze, a position he holds to this day.

Presidential campaign

François Hollande campaigning in 2012

Following his re-election as President of the General Council of Corrèze in March 2011, Hollande announced that he would be a candidate in the upcoming primary election to select the Socialist and Radical Left Party presidential nominee.[5] The primary marked the first time that both parties had held an open primary to select a joint nominee at the same time. He initially performed poorly in polls, trailing the front-runner, former Finance Minister and IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, following Strauss-Kahn’s arrest on suspicion of sexual assault in New York City in May 2011, Hollande began to lead the opinion polls. His position as front-runner was established just as Strauss-Kahn declared that he would no longer be seeking the nomination. After a series of televised debates throughout September, Hollande topped the ballot in the first round held on 9 October with 39% of the vote, not gaining the 50% required to avoid a second ballot, which he would contest against Martine Aubry, who had come second with 30% of the vote. The second ballot took place on 16 October 2011, which Hollande won with 56% of the vote to Aubry’s 43%, after which Hollande was declared the official Socialist and Radical Left Party candidate for the 2012 presidential election.[6] After the primary results, he immediately gained the pledged support of the other contenders for the party’s nomination, including Aubry, Arnaud MontebourgManuel Valls and 2007 candidate Ségolène Royal.[7]

Hollande’s presidential campaign is being managed by Pierre Moscovici and Stéphane Le Foll, a Member of Parliament and Member of the European Parliament respectively.[8] Hollande launched his campaign officially with a rally and major speech at Le Bourget on 22 January 2012 in front of 25,000 people.[9][10] The main themes of his speech were equality and the regulation of finance, both of which he promised to make a key part of his campaign.[10]

On 26 January he outlined a full list of policies in a manifesto containing 60 propositions, including the separation of retail activities from riskier investment-banking businesses, raising taxes for big corporations, banks and the wealthy, creating 60,000 teaching jobs, bringing the official retirement age back down to 60 from 62, creating subsidised jobs in areas of high unemployment for the young, promoting more industry in France by creating a public investment bank, granting marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples, and pulling French troops out of Afghanistan in 2012.[11][12] On 9 February, he detailed his policies specifically relating to education in a major speech in Orléans.[13]

On 15 February, incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that he would run for a second and final term, strongly criticising Hollande’s proposals and claiming that he would bring about “economic disaster within two days of taking office” if he won.[14] Opinion polls show a very tight race between the two men in the first round of voting, most polls show Hollande comfortably ahead of Sarkozy in a hypothetical second round run-off.[15]

Personal life

For over thirty years, his partner was fellow Socialist politician Ségolène Royal, with whom he has four children – Thomas (1984), Clémence (1985), Julien (1987) and Flora (1992). In June 2007, just a month after Royal’s defeat in the French presidential election of 2007, the couple announced that they were separating.[16]

A few months after his split from Ségolène Royal was announced, a French website published details of a relationship between Hollande and French journalist Valérie Trierweiler. This was controversial as some considered this to be a breach of France’s strict stance on politicians’ personal privacy. In November 2007, Valérie Trierweiler confirmed and openly discussed her relationship with Hollande in an interview with French weekly Télé 7 Jours.


Hollande has had a large number of books and academic works published, including:


  1. ^ “Socialists choose Hollande to face Sarkozy in 2012”. FRANCE 24. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  2. ^ Willsher, Kim (16 October 2011). “French presidential election: Nicolas Sarkozy v François Hollande”The Guardian (London).
  3. ^ “EN IMAGES. François Hollande, une carrière au parti socialiste – Presidentielle 2012” (in French). leParisien.fr. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  4. ^ “HEC Paris – Grande Ecole – Foire aux questions” (in(French)). Hec.fr. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  5. ^ Albinet, Alain (31 March 2011). “L’appel de Tulle de François Hollande” (in French). Le Monde. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  6. ^ Erlanger, Steven (7 September 2010). “French Unions in National Strike on Pensions”New York Times: p. A4. Retrieved 4 December 2010. “[Socialist party leader Martine] Aubry has presidential ambitions… Her rivals included the former leader of the party, François Hollande….”
  7. ^ Love, Brian (16 September 2011). “Hollande to run for presidency for French left”Reuters. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  8. ^ (French)Botella, Bruno. “François Hollande recrute deux préfets pour sa campagne”. acteurs publics. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  9. ^ Erlanger, Steven (January 22, 2012). “François Hollande, Challenging Sarkozy, Calls for Change”The New York Times. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  10. a b Clavel, Geoffroy (January 22, 2012). “François Hollande, French Presidential Candidate, Says ‘Finance’ Is His Adversary”The Huffington Post. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  11. ^ Erlanger, Steven (January 26, 2012). “Sarkozy’s Main Rival Offers Proposals for Lifting France’s Economy”.The New York Times. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  12. ^ “Presidential program – François Hollande”. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  13. ^ Laubacher, Paul. “Éducation : François Hollande fait de l’école primaire une priorité” (in French). Le Nouvel Observateur. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  14. ^ “Politique : Sarkozy se voit à l’Élysée pour encore «sept ans et demi»”Le Figaro. Retrieved 2012-04-14.
  15. ^ “4 March 2012 – Opinion Way” (PDF). Retrieved 2012-04-19.
  16. ^ Sciolino, Elaine (19 June 2007). “French Socialists’ First Couple Disclose a Parting of Ways”New York Times: p. A3. Retrieved 4 December 2010.

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Lionel Jospin
First Secretary of the Socialist Party
Succeeded by
Martine Aubry
Preceded by
Ségolène Royal
Socialist Party nominee for President of France
Most recent
Radical Party of the Left nominee for President of France
Political offices
Preceded by
Raymond-Max Aubert
Mayor of Tulle
Succeeded by
Bernard Combes
Preceded by
Jean-Pierre Dupont
President of the General Council of Corrèze

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