France

Hollande calls for unity, as division in Socialist party widens

French President François Hollande awards Prime minister Manuel Valls with the Grande Croix de l'Ordre National du Merite, 22 October 2014.
French President François Hollande awards Prime minister Manuel Valls with the Grande Croix de l'Ordre National du Merite, 22 October 2014. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

French President François Hollande, made a bold appeal on Sunday for greater unity among the French population, despite unity within his own party being on the rocks.

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François Hollande was all smiles on Sunday during a visit to the eastern town of Dijon, where he came to assist in the closing ceremony of a popular education association, Leo Lagrange.

Adopting a unifying stance, he said "a President's concern is the unity of his country, especially when it is fragmented."

But many journalists were quick to point out that unity within his own party is hanging in the balance, particularly after the recent declarations of his Prime minister Manuel Valls to reform the Socialist Party.

"Unity is always a difficult struggle, not just among political groups or parties," Hollande replied.

But in an interview to be released this week, Manuel Valls urges his party to reform and break with the past, going so far as to request a party name change.

Yet Hollande has dismissed claims of party division, and has instead focused attention on what he says has been a "beautiful week."

The President concluded a spree of high-profile inaugurations at some of the coutry's most prestigious galleries, like the Pablo Picasso museum, yesterday. On Sunday, he saw his approval ratings go up by 1% in October, compared to September.

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