PARIS – The Latest on France's presidential campaigns (all times local):
France's Socialist President Francois Hollande says he will not seek re-election next year.
Hollande's announcement Thursday on French television network TF1 came just a few days after his No. 2, Manuel Valls, said he is "ready" to compete in the left-wing Socialist primary in January.
Hollande said: "I have decided not to be a candidate in the presidential election" and that he remained "lucid" about his chances of getting wide backing within the party.
The deeply unpopular Hollande was expected to say in the coming weeks whether he would run again.
The French president — the most unpopular of France's modern history — repeatedly said he would seek re-election only if he was able to curb the unemployment rate, which has hovered for years at 10 percent.
Former French economy minister Arnaud Montebourg has formally entered the country's presidential race.
Montebourg announced his candidacy Thursday in the presidential primary France's Socialist party has scheduled for January.
The 54-year-old Montebourg's politics are firmly left-leaning. He lost his cabinet position in 2014 because he denounced president Francois Hollande's pro-business shift.
During a speech in Paris, Montebourg says he favors a strong state to protect France's industry from "foreign interests."
Another former economy minister of Hollande's, centrist Emmanuel Macron also is seeing the presidency but without taking part into a primary. Macron advocates free market policies.
Hollande must say whether he will stand for re-election before a Dec. 15 deadline.
The French conservatives have chosen former prime minister Francois Fillon as their nominee for the April-May presidential election..