French President François Hollande is making history these days, albeit for all the wrong reasons. His record low approval ratings now qualify him for the title of most unpopular president in the entire history of France.
How did this happen to the leader of one of the world's most powerful and influential nations? Jules Suzdaltsev explains in today's Seeker Daily report.
The short answer is that Hollande is under attack from all quarters of the political spectrum. His supporters on the left accuse him of gradually moving to the right since his election in 2012. Meanwhile, his opponents on the right are blaming Hollande for France's weakening economy and stubbornly high unemployment rate, which is running at twice that of Germany and the U.K.
Many international observers blame France's stumbling economy on the country's famously formidable labor code, which protects worker unions and job security and preserves France's 35-hour work week. Hollande's recent efforts to juice the economy by weakening worker protections were not well received, to put it mildly. Thousands took to the streets and social media to protest, many of whom represent Hollande's target voter demographic: leftist youths.
RELATED: What Americans Get Wrong About France
Hollande has also endured heavy criticism for his proposed nationality law, a constitutional amendment that would strip citizenship from dual nationals convicted of terrorism. The proposal was a response to the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris. But critics called it a contradiction of equal protection guarantees under the French constitution. The initiative failed miserably, and Hollande himself eventually withdrew his support.
Hollande's perceived indecisiveness on these issues has only intensified the criticism, and some say it's paved the way for France's far-right National Front party to gain support. During the recent first round of regional elections, the National Front won nearly 30 percent of the vote -- an all-time high for the anti-EU and anti-immigration party.
So, yes -- Hollande is not doing so well as standard-bearer for the left in France. There's even talk that he has has lost the support of his own Socialist party in the upcoming 2017 national elections.
For more on the rise of Europe's ultra-right groups, click on over to our further Seeker Daily coverage.
-- Glenn McDonald
Bloomberg: Hollande's Popularity Plumbs Record Low in French Opinion Poll
Washington Post: France's Hollande is so unpopular that his own party may not support him
The Guardian: Hollande drops plan to revoke citizenship of dual-national terrorists
Reuters: Hollande popularity plumbs new low in mid-term French poll