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PARIS (AP) -- France's President Francois Hollande announced in a surprise televised address Thursday that he would not seek a second term in next year's presidential election, acknowledging that his personal unpopularity might cost his Socialist party the Elysee.
"I have decided not to be a candidate in the presidential election," Hollande said in the prime time slot, adding that he hoped by stepping aside to give the Socialists a chance to win "against conservatism and, worse still, extremism."
The 62-year-old president -- the country's least popular leader since World War II -- said he was "conscious of the risks" his lack of support posed to a successful candidacy.
The announcement Thursday came just a few days after Hollande's No. 2, Prime Minister Manuel Valls, said he was "ready" to compete in next month's Socialist primary.