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Attacks boost Hollande's popularity

Monday, January 19, 2015 - 02:07

He's France's most unpopular President in polling history...but it seems Francois Hollande's approval rating has been given a much needed boost after the recent terror attacks in Paris. Katie Gregory takes a look at how his resilient performance has won back voters.

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Francois Hollande has long been criticised as a weak leader who lacks a connection to voters. But what he's tried to show the French public and the world over the last few weeks is the exact opposite. Within an hour of the first shootings at the Charlie Hebdo offices, Hollande was on the scene addressing his nation. Just days later, he was at the head of a Unity parade leading one million people through the streets of his capital. Linked arm in arm with other world leaders he helped guide the french public through their grief. (SOUNDBITE) (French) PASSER BY, MAX OBLED, SAYING: "I think he's a president with human qualities. There was something to be done, there was real emotion everywhere in the French population, and also all over the world, and he dealt with things well during the Charlie Hebdo affair." And it seems those human qualities have given the President a popularity boost. His approval rating has jumped 21 points to 40% at one point they were as low as 13% largely due the economy. Frederic Dabi is from Pollster IFOP. (SOUNDBITE) (French) ASSISTANT DIRECTOR GENERAL AT POLLSTER IFOP FRANCE, FREDERIC DABI, SAYING: "For the French, Francois Hollande has been up to the job, he coped with the events, he's overcome the criticisms he's normally the target of -- his lack of authority, of firmness, of leadership -- for many French people he wore the mantle of a president and he is reaping the benefits." But France is still in trouble... the country's labour market is faltering and unemployment is above 10% and rising. The euro zone's second largest economy has shown barely any signs of growth since Hollande took office in 2012. (SOUNDBITE) (French) PASSER BY, RUDOLF MIZZI, SAYING: "I saw that his popularity ratings had gone up but I don't think we can judge him on that alone. He had the right reaction at the right time, but now let's see about the rest." For now at least France's most unpopular President is having a moment in the sun. But the country's economic woes may once more cast a shadow over the strength of his leadership.

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Attacks boost Hollande's popularity

Monday, January 19, 2015 - 02:07