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Francois Hollande 'Not retired' ex French president jabs at Macron

Former French president Francois Hollande said Wednesday he has not turned his back on politics, after criticising his successor and former protege in the Elysee Palace, Emmanuel Macron.

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Hollande (right) leaving the Elysee Palace at the end of his formal handover to President Emmanuel Macron (left) on May 14 this year play

Hollande (right) leaving the Elysee Palace at the end of his formal handover to President Emmanuel Macron (left) on May 14 this year

(AFP/File)
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Former French president Francois Hollande said Wednesday he has not turned his back on politics, after criticising his successor and former protege in the Elysee Palace, Emmanuel Macron.

"Even when I decided... not to stand (for re-election) I had said I would not retire from political life," the Socialist Hollande, 63, told TV5 Monde television.

The former president on Tuesday said the 39-year-old Macron should not "demand needless sacrifices from the French".

Macron, elected in May, has come under fire for budget and public spending cuts.

The former investment banker launched his presidential bid in August last year, promising to overcome France's entrenched right-left divide.

Hollande had plucked Macron from virtual obscurity to make him his financial advisor before naming him economy minister in 2014.

The former president on Tuesday questioned Macron's moves to "make the job market more flexible than we already have."

He issued the warning as Macron's Labour Minister Muriel Penicaud began meetings with union leaders over labour reforms, an issue that sparked a series of sometimes violent protests across France last year.

On May 14, the day Macron was inaugurated, Hollande said of his own political future "you should never say never in life".

Even if "the temptation to intervene can be great," Hollande said, he did not want to be a "backseat driver" during the first days and weeks of the Macron presidency.

Hollande had record low approval ratings after failing to make good on his pledge to rein in unemployment, which stagnated at around 10 percent throughout most of his five years in office.

He decided in December not to stand for re-election.

The Socialists' candidate Benoit Hamon finished a humiliating fifth place as voters abandoned the former ruling party, crippled by deep ideological divisions.

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