Childhood & Early Life
François Hollande was born on August 12, 1954, in Rouen, France. His father, Georges Gustave Hollande, was an ENT doctor and held a far right political view. His mother, Nicole Frédérique Marguerite Tribert, was a social worker. As a child, François was brought up a Catholic.
François started his education at Saint-Jean-Baptiste-de-la-Salle in Rouen. When he turned thirteen the family moved to Neuilly-sur-Seine in the suburbs of Paris. There he enrolled at Lycée Pasteur, a secondary school in the locality.
After graduating from secondary school, François attended the École des Hautes Études Commerciales and passed out from there in 1975. Next, he enrolled at the Institut de Sciences Politiques and finally at the École Nationale d'Administration, from where he passed out in 1980. He also has a bachelor degree in law from Panthéon-Assas University.
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Early Political Career
Hollande joined the Socialist Party in 1979, while he was still a student at École Nationale d'Administration and was spotted by Jacques Attali, the advisor to President Mitterrand. After passing out he entered Cour des comptes, a quasi judicial body under the French government, as a councilor.
In 1981, Hollande challenged future President Chirac for the French Assembly seat of Corrèze department in central France, but lost. He was then appointed as an economic adviser in the administration of President Francois Mitterrand. Later he was sent to work under the government spokesperson Max Gallo.
In 1983, Hollande became a municipal councilor for Ussel, a commune in the Corrèze department. In 1988, he again contested for the National Assembly seat from Corrèze and won. He lost the seat in the 1993 election due to right wing wave that engulfed the country during the period.
At that time, the Socialist Party was also undergoing a phase of internal struggle with different leaders trying to assert their authorities. Hollande tried to reconcile the different warring groups. Ultimately Lionel Jospin assumed the leadership of the party. Under him Hollande became the official party spokesperson.
Then in 1997, Jospin became the Prime Minister of a cohabitation government under President Chirac. This is also the year when Hollande regained his National Assembly seat from Corrèze.
On becoming Prime Minister, Jospin appointed Hollande to the post of the First Secretary of the Socialist Party, a position he held until 2008. During this period Hollande’s hold within the party became so strong that many began to refer to him as the ‘Vice Prime Minister of France’.
In 2001, Hollande became the Mayor of Tulle, the capital of Corrèze department. Although he held the position for seven years, he was not disconnected from national politics. Contrarily, the shock defeat of Jospin in 2002 presidential election and his subsequent resignation made Hollande the party’s public face in the legislative election.
However, 2002 was a tough year for the Socialist Party. Although Hollande was able to retain his own seat at Corrèze and limit the defeat to some extent, the party lost the election on the whole. In spite of that he was reelected as the First Secretary in the 2003 party congress
In 2004 regional election, a left coalition headed by Socialist under Hollande won the twenty of the twenty two regions in Metropolitan France, consisting of mainland France and nearby islands.
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With such a win, Hollande became the natural choice for the 2007 Presidential election. However, a large faction within the party opposed it and ultimately, his live-in partner Ségolène Royal was nominated to run the Presidential election. Unfortunately, she lost to Nicolas Sarkozy.
In 2005, Hollande was reelected as the First Secretary of the Socialist party; but his hold over the party began to wane from now on. Many blamed him for Royal’s defeat in the 2007 Presidential election. When his term as First Secretary ended in 2008 he did not seek reelection.
In April 2008, Hollande was elected as the President of the General Council of Corrèze. In March 2011, he was reelected to the same post. Soon, he announced his candidature in the forthcoming primary election for selection of the presidential nominee.
In this election, Hollande was faced with five other contestants including IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his former partner Ségolène Royal. While Strauss-Kahn was all time favorite, he had to leave the election after an alleged assault charge in New York. With it Hollande’s position as the frontrunner was established.
Hollande won the party nomination on October 16, 2011 receiving 56% of the vote. He also gained the support of the other candidates and began to get ready for the 2012 Presidential election.
Hollande launched his campaign at a rally at Le Bourget on January 22, 2012. It was attended by 25,000 people. On January 26, 2012, he released his manifesto outlining his policies. It contained sixty propositions.
Most of the propositions were aimed at improving the financial condition of the nation while some like granting marriage and adoption rights to LGT couples were of social relevance. In his manifesto he stressed on increasing the tax on the wealthy and the corporate, reducing the retirement age, creating 60,000 teaching jobs, promoting more industries etc.
The manifesto was strongly criticized by the incumbent president, Nicolas Sarkozy, who was running for his second and final term. After an initial close run, Hollande won the election comfortably. He was elected the President of French Republic on May 6, 2012 with 51.7% of the vote. With it, he also became the Co Prince of Andorra.
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President of French Republic
Hollande’s first year as the French President was dominated by economic problems like record unemployment and low consumer confidence. His first priority was to tackle that. At the same time, he also paid equal attention to foreign relation and met heads of different government to tackle Euro zone debt crisis.
Hollande emphasized on generating growth. However, by end of the year he proposed higher value-added tax, a new corporate tax credit and also cuts in state spending. By the end of second year, there were indications that the country had officially come out of recession, but French economy remained stagnant.
At the same time, Hollande paid equal attention to various other issues. On May 18, 2013, he signed the bill, which legalized same sex marriage and the adoption rights of LGBT couples. He also undertook labor reforms that would make France industry-friendly and at the same time are fair on its workforce.
Hollande is equally keen on tackling Islamist terrorism and has sent troops to Mali to oust the militants from the country. After the November 2015 attack on Paris by the ISIS, Hollande declared that France was at war with the group.
Personal Life & Legacy
Although Hollande has never married, for thirty years he had a live-in relatiosnship with Ségolène Royal. They had four children; Thomas, Clémence, Julien and Flora. The couple separated in 2007.
Few months after the separation with Royal Hollande began to see French journalist Valérie Trierweiler. After Hollande became the President, she moved in with him. She later accompanied him in his foreign trips and acted as the official hostess. The couple announced their official separation on January 25, 2014.