Former French President Hollande Is Considering Coming Back

(Bloomberg) -- Former French President Francois Hollande, who decided in 2017 he was too unpopular to run for re-election, has indicated he’s changed his mind and may re-enter the fray.

At a book signing in the southwestern town of Brive, which he used to represent in parliament, Hollande, 64, answered “No” when a woman asked him if his withdrawal from politics was definitive. When she followed up and asked “will you come back?,” he responded: “I will come back.”

The exchange took place last Saturday but was carried by television show “Quotidien” Tuesday evening. Hollande hasn’t elaborated on details about his political return.

Chaotic Love Life

Hollande’s approval rating was in the teens, after four years in which unemployment stayed stubbornly high and his administration was roiled by his chaotic love life and his frequent leaks of damaging comments to the press. In December 2016, he announced he wouldn’t seek re-election, thus providing the opening for Hollande’s then 39-year-old former economy minister who created his own movement to win the election.

Once derided as the “rain god,” as many of the public events he attended ended up under wet weather, Hollande always said he’d never return to politics. Yet a book he wrote about his presidency sold well and he’s risen in popularity. A Nov. 7 Ifop poll showed that 36 percent of the French now have a positive opinion of the former president. That’s three points below his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, who also claims he’s quit politics, but two ahead of the current president, Emmanuel Macron.