François Gérard Georges Nicolas Hollande (French: [fʁɑ̃swa
ɔlɑ̃d] ( listen); born 12 August 1954) is a French
politician who served as
President of France
President of France and ex officio Co-Prince
Andorra from 2012 to 2017. He was previously the First Secretary of
the Socialist Party from 1997 to 2008, Mayor of
Tulle from 2001 to
2008, and President of the
Corrèze General Council from 2008 to 2012.
Hollande also served in the National Assembly of
France twice for the
Corrèze's 1st constituency from 1988 to 1993, and again
from 1997 to 2012.
Rouen and raised in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hollande began his
political career as a special advisor to newly elected President
François Mitterrand, before serving as a staffer for Max Gallo, the
government's spokesman. He became a member of the National Assembly in
1988 and was elected First Secretary of the Socialist Party in 1997.
Following the 2004 regional elections won by the Socialists, Hollande
was cited as a potential presidential candidate, but resigned as First
Secretary and was immediately elected to replace
Jean-Pierre Dupont as
President of the General Council of
Corrèze in 2008. In 2011,
Hollande announced that he would be a candidate in the primary
election to select the Socialist Party presidential nominee; he won
the nomination, and on 6 May 2012, he was elected President during the
second-round of voting with 51.6% of the vote against incumbent
During his tenure, Hollande legalized same-sex marriage by passing
Bill no. 344, reformed labour laws and credit training programs,
withdrew French combat troops present in the Afghanistan military
intervention, concluded a EU directive through a Franco-German
contract, and led the country through the January and November 2015
Paris and 2016 Nice attacks. He was a leading proponent of EU
mandatory migrant quotas and NATO's 2011 military intervention in
Libya. He also sent troops to
Mali and the Central African Republic
with the approval of the UN Security Council in order to stabilise
those countries, two operations largely seen as successful. However
his support of the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen
drew controversy among his left-wing electoral basis. Under his term,
France also became the most toured country in the world, and
known as a nation of open markets, regulatory efficiency, rule of law
and limited governmental intervention. Paris hosted the 2015
United Nations Climate Change Conference and Hollande's efforts to
2024 Summer Olympics
2024 Summer Olympics to the city were successful.
Notwithstanding, with unemployment up to 10% as of December
2016 and domestic troubles over his tenure due to
terrorism, he faced spikes and downturns in approval rates, ultimately
making him one of the most unpopular French Presidents in
history. On 1 December 2016, he announced he would not
seek reelection in the 2017 French presidential election, and later
endorsed Emmanuel Macron, who would go on to win the election.
1 Early life and education
2 Early political career
2.1 First Secretary of the Socialist Party (1997–2008)
2.2 2012 presidential campaign
President of France
President of France (2012–2017)
3.2 Marriage and adoption for same-sex couples
3.3 Labour reform
3.4 Pension reform
3.5 Foreign affairs
3.6 Approval ratings
4 Personal life
5 Honours and decorations
5.1 National honours
5.2 Foreign honours
5.3 Key to the City
8 Further reading
8.1 In French
9 External links
Early life and education
François Hollande was born on 12 August 1954 in Rouen. His
mother, Nicole Frédérique Marguerite Tribert (1927–2009), was
a social worker, and his father, Georges Gustave Hollande (born
1923), is a retired ear, nose, and throat doctor who "ran for
local election on a far right ticket in 1959."
The name "Hollande" meant "one originally from Holland" – it is
mostly found in Hollande's ancestral homeland, Hauts-de-France, and it
is speculated to be Dutch in origin. The earliest known member of the
Hollande family lived circa 1569 near Plouvain, working as a
When Hollande was thirteen, the family moved to Neuilly-sur-Seine, a
highly exclusive suburb of Paris. He attended
Saint-Jean-Baptiste-de-la-Salle boarding school, a private Catholic
school in Rouen, the Lycée Pasteur, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, receiving
his baccalaureut in 1972 then graduated with a bachelor's degree in
Law from Panthéon-Assas University. Hollande studied at HEC Paris,
graduated in 1975, and then attended the Institut d'études politiques
de Paris and the
École nationale d'administration
École nationale d'administration (ENA). He did his
military service in the French Army in 1977. He graduated from the
ENA in 1980 and chose to enter the prestigious Cour des comptes.
Hollande lived in the United States in the summer of 1974 as a
university student. Immediately after graduation, he was employed
as a councillor in the Court of Audit.
Early political career
Five years after volunteering as a student to work for François
Mitterrand's ultimately unsuccessful campaign in the 1974 presidential
election, Hollande joined the Socialist Party. He was quickly spotted
by Jacques Attali, a senior adviser to Mitterrand, who arranged for
Hollande to run in legislative election of 1981 in
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
He went on to become a special advisor to 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. Hollande lost his bid for
re-election to the Assembly in the so-called "blue wave" of the 1993
election, described as such due to the number of seats gained by the
Right at the expense of the Socialist Party.
First Secretary of the Socialist Party (1997–2008)
François Hollande in 2006
Hollande with his former partner Ségolène Royal, at a rally for the
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 Delors, the
President of the European Commission, but Delors renounced his
ambitions to run for the French presidency in 1995. Former party
Lionel Jospin resumed his position, and selected Hollande to
become the official party spokesman. Hollande went on to contest
Corrèze once again in 1997, successfully returning to the National
That same year, Jospin became the Prime Minister of France, and
Hollande won the election for his successor as First Secretary of the
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 period, Hollande's position led some to refer to him the
"Vice Prime Minister". Hollande would go on to be elected 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
Jean-Marie Le Pen in the first round of
the 2002 presidential election forced Hollande to become the public
face of the party for the 2002 legislative election. 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
Le Mans Congress in 2005, his
authority over the party began to decline. Eventually his domestic
partner, Ségolène Royal, was chosen to represent the party in the
2007 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 Delanoë, the mayor of Paris, but it was Martine
Aubry who would go on to win the race to succeed him in 2008. Hollande
was next elected to replace
Jean-Pierre Dupont as the president of the
General Council of
Corrèze in April 2008, and won re-election in
2012 presidential campaign
François Hollande presidential campaign, 2012
See also: French presidential election, 2012
Hollande announced in early 2011 that he would be a candidate in the
upcoming primary election to select the Socialist and Radical Left
Party presidential nominee. 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 trailed the front-runner, former finance
International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund 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, and his position as front-runner was established just
as Strauss-Kahn declared that he would no longer seek the nomination.
After a series of televised debates with other candidates throughout
September, Hollande topped the ballot in the first round held on 9
October with 39% of the vote. He did not, however, gain the 50%
required to avoid a run-off election, and was obliged to enter a
second ballot against Martine Aubry, who had come in second with 30%
of the vote.
The second ballot took place on 16 October 2011. Hollande won with 56%
of the vote to Aubry's 43% and thus became the official Socialist and
Radical Left Party
Radical Left Party candidate for the 2012 presidential election.
All his main opponents in the primary – Aubry, Ségolène Royal,
Arnaud Montebourg, and
Manuel Valls – pledged their support to him
for the general election.
Hollande campaigning in Reims, 2012
Hollande's presidential campaign was managed by
Pierre Moscovici and
Stéphane Le Foll, a member of Parliament and Member of the European
Parliament respectively. Hollande launched his campaign officially
with a rally and major speech at
Le Bourget on 22 January 2012 in
front of 25,000 people. 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.
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
on 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. On 9
February, he detailed his policies specifically relating to education
in a major speech in Orléans.
Nicolas Sarkozy announced on 15 February that he
would run for a second and final term, strongly criticising the
Socialist proposals and claiming that Hollande would bring about
"economic disaster within two days of taking office". Opinion
polls showed a tight race between the two men in the first round of
voting, with most polls showing Hollande comfortably ahead of Sarkozy
in a hypothetical second round. The first round of the
presidential election was held on 22 April.
François Hollande came in
first place with 28.63% of the vote, and faced
Nicolas Sarkozy in a
run-off. In the second round of voting on 6 May 2012, Hollande was
elected with 51.6% of the vote.
President of France
President of France (2012–2017)
See also: Presidency of François Hollande
Hollande (right) and outgoing President
Nicolas Sarkozy at Élysée
Palace on inauguration day, 15 May 2012
Hollande during a meeting in
Carcassonne in May 2015
Hollande was inaugurated on 15 May 2012, and shortly afterwards
Jean-Marc Ayrault to be his Prime Minister. He was the first
Socialist Party president since
François Mitterrand left office in
1995. The President of the French Republic is one of the two joint
heads of state of the Principality of Andorra. Hollande hosted a visit
from Antoni Martí, head of the government, and Vicenç Mateu Zamora,
leader of the parliament.
He also appointed
Benoît Puga to be the military's chief of staff,
Pierre-René Lemas as his general secretary and Pierre Besnard as his
Head of Cabinet. Hollande's full Council of Ministers became the
first ever in
France to show gender parity, with 17 men and 17 women,
and each member was required to sign a new "code of ethics" that
placed significant restrictions on their conduct and compensation,
above that of existing law. The first measure enacted by the new
government was to lower the salaries of the President, the Prime
Minister, and other members of the government by 30%.
Hollande's economic policies are wide-ranging, including supporting
the creation of a European credit rating agency, the separation of
lending and investment in banks, reducing the share of electricity
generated by nuclear power in
France from 75 to 50% in favour of
renewable energy sources, merging income tax and the General Social
Contribution (CSG), creating an additional 45% for additional income
of 150,000 euros, capping tax loopholes at a maximum of €10,000 per
year, and questioning the relief solidarity tax on wealth (ISF, Impôt
de Solidarité sur la Fortune) measure that should bring €29 billion
in additional revenue. Hollande also signalled his intent to implement
a 75% income tax rate on revenue earned above 1,000,000 euros per
year, to generate the provision of development funds for deprived
suburbs, and to return to a deficit of zero percent of GDP by
2017. The tax plan proved controversial, with courts ruling it
unconstitutional in 2012, only to then take the opposite position on a
redrafted version in 2013.
Hollande has also announced several reforms to education, pledging to
recruit 60,000 new teachers, to create a study allowance and
means-tested training, and to set up a mutually beneficial contract
that would allow a generation of experienced employees and craftsmen
to be the guardians and teachers of younger newly hired employees,
thereby creating a total of 150,000 subsidized jobs. This has been
complemented by the promise of aid to SMEs, with the creation of a
public bank investment-oriented SME's, and a reduction of the
corporate tax rate to 30% for medium corporations and 15% for small.
Hollande's government has announced plans to construct 500,000 public
homes per year, including 150,000 social houses, funded by a doubling
of the ceiling of the A passbook, the region making available its
local government land within five years. In accordance with
long-standing Socialist Party policy, Hollande has announced that the
retirement age will revert to 60, for those who have contributed for
more than 41 years.
Marriage and adoption for same-sex couples
Further information: Law 2013-404
Hollande has also announced his personal support for same-sex marriage
and adoption for LGBT couples, and outlined plans to pursue the issue
in early 2013. In July 2012, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault
announced that "In the first half of 2013, the right to marriage and
adoption will be open to all couples, without discrimination",
confirming this election promise by Hollande.
The bill to legalize same-sex marriage, known as Bill no. 344, was
introduced to the National Assembly of
France on 7 November 2012. On
12 February 2013, the National Assembly approved the bill in a
329–229 vote. The Right-wing opposed the bill. The Senate
approved the full bill with a 171–165 majority on 12 April with
minor amendments. On 23 April, the National Assembly approved the
amended bill, in a 331–225 vote, and following approval of the law
by the Constitutional Council of France, it was signed into law by
President Hollande on 18 May 2013, with the first same-sex weddings
under the law taking place eleven days later.
Demonstration against Hollande's labour reform in Belfort, 2016
As President, Hollande pursued labour reform to make
competitive internationally. Legislation was introduced in late 2012
and after much debate passed the French lower and upper house in May
2013. The bill includes measures such as making it easier for workers
to change jobs and for companies to fire employees. One of the main
measures of the bill allows companies to temporarily cut workers'
salaries or hours during times of economic difficulty. This measure
takes its inspiration from Germany, where furloughs have been credited
with allowing companies to weather difficult times without resorting
to massive layoffs. Layoffs in
France are often challenged in courts
and the cases can take years to resolve. Many companies cite the
threat of lengthy court action – even more than any financial
cost – as the most difficult part of doing business in France. The
law shortens the time that employees have to contest a layoff and also
lays out a scheme for severance pay. The government hopes this will
help employees and companies reach agreement faster in contentious
Another key measure introduced are credits for training that follow
employees throughout their career, regardless of where they work, and
the right to take a leave of absence to work at another company. The
law will also require all companies to offer and partially pay for
supplemental health insurance. Lastly, the law also reforms
unemployment insurance, so that someone out of work doesn't risk
foregoing significant benefits when taking a job that might pay less
than previous work or end up only being temporary. Under the new law,
workers will be able to essentially put benefits on hold when they
take temporary work, instead of seeing their benefits recalculated
As President, Hollande pursued reform to the vast and expensive
pension system in France. The process proved to be very contentious,
with members of Parliament, Labor Unions, and general public all
opposed. Mass protests and demonstrations occurred throughout Paris.
Despite the opposition, the French Parliament did pass a reform in
December 2013 aimed at plugging a pension deficit expected to reach
20.7 billion euros ($28.4 billion) by 2020 if nothing were to be done.
Rather than raising the mandatory retirement age, as many economists
had advised, Hollande pursued increases in contributions, leaving the
retirement age untouched. The reform had a rough ride in parliament,
being rejected twice by the Senate, where Hollande's Socialist Party
has a slim majority, before it won sufficient backing in a final vote
before the lower house of parliament. French private sector workers
will see the size and duration of their pension contributions increase
only modestly under the reform while their retirement benefits are
See also: List of presidential trips made by François Hollande
Hollande reviewing troops during the 2013 Bastille Day military parade
As President, Hollande promised an early withdrawal of French combat
troops present in Afghanistan in 2012. He also pledged to
conclude a new contract of Franco-German partnership, advocating the
adoption of a Directive on the protection of public services. Hollande
has proposed "an acceleration of the establishment of a Franco-German
civic service, the creation of a Franco-German research office, the
creation of a Franco-German industrial fund to finance common
competitiveness clusters, and the establishment of a common military
headquarters". As well as this, Hollande has expressed a wish to
"combine the positions of the presidents of the European Commission
and of the
European Council (currently held by José Manuel Barroso
Herman Van Rompuy
Herman Van Rompuy respectively) into a single office [...] and
that it should be directly chosen" by the members of the European
Barack Obama on board Air Force One, 10 February 2014
On 11 January 2013, Hollande authorised the execution of Operation
Serval, which aimed to curtail the activities of Islamist extremists
in the north of Mali. The intervention was popularly supported in
Mali, as Hollande promised that his government would do all it could
to "rebuild Mali". During his one-day visit to Bamako, Mali's
capital, on 2 February 2013, he said that it was "the most important
day in [his] political life". In 2014, Hollande took some of these
troops out of
Mali and spread them over the rest of the Sahel under
Operation Barkhane, in an effort to curb jihadist militants.
Hollande made a state visit to the United States in February 2014; a
state dinner was given in his honor by U.S. President Barack
Obama. On 27 February 2014, Hollande was a special guest
of honor in Abuja, received by Nigerian President
Goodluck Jonathan in
celebration of Nigeria's amalgamation in 1914, a 100-year
anniversary. In July 2014, Hollande expressed support for Israel's
right to defend itself during the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, and
told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, "
condemns these aggressions [by Hamas]."
Leaders of Belarus, Russia, Germany, France, and Ukraine at the Minsk
II summit, 11–12 February 2015
In September 2015, Hollande warned former
Eastern Bloc countries
against rejecting the EU mandatory migrant quotas, saying: "Those who
don't share our values, those who don't even want to respect those
principles, need to start asking themselves questions about their
place in the European Union".
Hollande supported the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen,
re-supplying the Saudi military.
France authorised $18 billion
(€16 billion) in arms sales to
Saudi Arabia in 2015.
An IFOP poll released in April 2014 showed that Hollande’s approval
rating had dropped five points since the previous month of March to
18%, dipping below his earlier low of 20% in February during the same
year. In November 2014, his approval rating reached a new low of
12%, according to a YouGov poll. Following the Charlie Hebdo
shooting in January 2015, however, approval for Hollande increased
dramatically, reaching 40% according to an IFOP poll two weeks after
the attack, though an Ipsos-Le Point survey in early February
showed his rating declining back to 30%.
Hollande is the most unpopular president of the French Fifth Republic.
In September 2014, his approval rating was down to 13% according to an
IFOP/JDD survey, making him the first French leader in modern times to
ever break the 20% threshold. One year before the end of his
mandate, in April 2016, his approval rating was at 14%, and surveys
predicted that if he were to run for a second term, he would be
defeated in the first round of the 2017 presidential elections. By
November 2016, Hollande's approval rating was just 4%.
François Hollande in 2015
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.
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. In November 2007,
Trierweiler confirmed and openly discussed her relationship with
Hollande in an interview with the French weekly Télé 7 Jours. She
remained a reporter for the magazine Paris Match, but ceased work on
political stories. Trierweiler moved into the
Élysée Palace with
Hollande when he became president and started to accompany him on
On 25 January 2014, Hollande officially announced his separation from
Valérie Trierweiler after the tabloid magazine Closer revealed
his affair with actress Julie Gayet. In September 2014,
Trierweiler published a book about her time with Hollande titled Merci
pour ce moment (Thank You for This Moment). The memoir claimed the
president presented himself as disliking the rich, but in reality
disliked the poor. The claim brought an angry reaction and rejection
from Hollande, who said he had spent his life dedicated to the
Hollande was raised Catholic, but became an agnostic later in
life. He now considers himself to be an atheist, but still
professes respect for all religious practices.
Honours and decorations
Date & Comment
Grand Cross of the National Order of the Legion of Honour
15 May 2012 – automatic upon taking presidential office
Grand Cross of the National Order of Merit
15 May 2012 – automatic upon taking presidential office
Knight of the Order of the White Eagle
16 November 2012
Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian
21 November 2012
Grand Collar of the Order of Ouissam Alaouite
3 April 2013
Chain of the Order of Abdulaziz Al Saud
30 December 2013
Proto-canon of the Papal
Basilica of St. John Lateran
Basilica of St. John Lateran (2012–2017;
the post is held ex officio by the French Head of State)
15 May 2012 - 14 May 2017
Grand Cordon of the Order of the Republic of Tunisia
4 July 2013
Grand Cordon of the National Order of
Mali of Mali
15 July 2013
Order of the White Double Cross, 1st Class
29 October 2013
Grand Star of the Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of
5 November 2013
Grand Cross of the Order of Saint-Charles
14 November 2013
Grand Cross of the Order of the
20 January 2014
Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
5 June 2014
Grand officier of the National Order of Quebec
3 November 2014
Knight of the Royal Order of the Seraphim
2 December 2014
Knight Collar of the Order of Isabella the Catholic
23 March 2015
Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer
22 October 2015
Order of Friendship, 1st class
6 November 2015
Grand Cross of the Order of the Liberator General San Martín
25 February 2016
Central African Republic
Grand Cross of the Order of Central African Merit
13 May 2016
Grand Collar of the Order of Liberty
19 June 2016
Grand Collar of the Order of the Star of Romania
13 September 2016
Key to the City
Manila: Freedom of the City of
Manila (26 February 2015).
Hollande has had a number of books and academic works published,
L'Heure des choix. Pour une économie politique (The hour of choices.
For a political economy), with Pierre Moscovici, 1991.
L'Idée socialiste aujourd'hui (The Socialist Idea Today), Omnibus,
2001. ISBN 978-2-259-19584-3
Devoirs de vérité (Duties of truth), interviews with Edwy Plenel,
éd. Stock, 2007. ISBN 978-2-234-05934-4
Droit d'inventaires (Rights of inventory), interviews with Pierre
Favier, Le Seuil, 2009. ISBN 978-2-02-097913-9
Le rêve français (The French Dream), Privat, August 2011.
Un destin pour la
France (A Destiny for France), Fayard, January 2012.
Changer de destin (Changing destiny), Robert Laffont, February 2012.
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