September 11, 2014 / 11:50 AM / in 3 years

Nearly two thirds of French want Hollande to quit: poll

French President Francois Hollande arrives to address journalists after a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, September 9, 2014. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

PARIS (Reuters) - Nearly two thirds of French voters would like to see their deeply unpopular Socialist president, Francois Hollande, resign before the end of his term in 2017, a poll showed on Thursday.

The IFOP/Le Figaro magazine survey showed that 62 percent of respondents wanted him to quit, three years before the next scheduled presidential election. A quarter of Socialist voters said they wanted to see the president resign.

Hollande, who is the most unpopular French president since World War Two, has seen his approval score fall to an unprecedented low of 13 percent in one poll due largely to frustration about the struggling economy.

While unemployment is stuck above 10 percent and growth is flat, measures to reduce the public deficit have saddled voters with higher taxes, yet failed to help France reach European deficit-cutting targets on time.

Finance Minister Michel Sapin announced this week that France would break the latest in a long line of promises to European Union partners to cut the deficit, conceding it would now take until 2017 to reach the targets.

Hollande has also suffered embarrassment on the personal front, with former companion Valerie Trierweiler accusing him of disliking the poor in a tell-all book which its publisher said is one of the decade’s top best-sellers.

In comments at a NATO summit in south Wales last week, Hollande told journalists that no poll could make him step down before the end of his term.

But the bad news has continued to flow. Last week, a junior trade minister resigned just nine days after his appointment in a cabinet reshuffle after it emerged he had not paid income taxes for three years.

Thomas Thevenoud, who had also stacked up hefty rent arrears on his Parisian apartment, told Wednesday’s edition of satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine that he suffered from a syndrome called “administrative phobia”.

IFOP’s poll was conducted online on Sept. 8-9 and 1,002 people aged 18 and over were questioned.

Reporting By Nicholas Vinocur; Editing by Andrew Callus

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