Former president Hollande makes surprise comeback in French election

Former French Socialist president Francois Hollande on Saturday said he will run for parliament again, the latest political twist after his successor Emmanuel Macron unexpectedly called snap legislative elections.

Macron's dissolving of parliament after the French far right's victory in European parliamentary elections has swiftly redrawn the lines of French politics.

A new left-wing alliance has emerged and the main right-wing party's leader has announced he is prepared to back an alliance with the far right, sparking in-fighting within his party.

On Saturday, police estimated that a quarter of a million people protested across France against the prospect of the far right coming to power.

But it is far from sure that the fortunes of the far right will diminish in the legislative elections.

Hollande, France's president from 2012-2017, left office with record levels of unpopularity. He is hated by parts of the radical left and even the Socialist leadership regards him with suspicion.

He said he would stand as an MP for the southwestern Correze department for the New Popular Front, a left-wing grouping formed for the elections that includes the Socialists, hard-left, Greens and Communists.

'Be of service'

"An exceptional decision for an exceptional situation," Hollande told reporters in the department's main town of Tulle, explaining his surprise comeback.

"I just want to be of service."


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