François Hollande will not seek the office of the presidency when France holds federal elections in 2017, he announced Thursday at the Élysée Palace.
"I am aware of the risks of a candidacy which would not unite," Hollande said during a nationally televised address. "I have decided not to be a candidate."
An October poll from Le Monde found that only 4 percent of French citizens approved of Hollande's performance in office. That was down from 11 percent when the same poll was conducted in June.
The first-term Socialist president of France has been the subject of criticism as he struggled to guide the French Republic in the wake of three different ISIS-linked terror attacks.
Since the November 2015 Paris attacks, Hollande has asked parliament to extend a state of emergency, but faced pushback during efforts to revoke the citizenship of convicted dual-national terrorists.
During a visit to Nice after the Bastille Day attack, Hollande's Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, was booed by onlookers, a sign that French citizens were increasingly frustrated by Hollande's leadership and the continuing violence plaguing France.
During his single term, Hollande can claim some successes. In 2015, 195 world leaders signed the Paris agreement during the COP-21 summit to combat climate change. In the legislature, Hollande worked to legalize same-sex marriage and introduced major reforms in the French labor market.
Though unemployment has fallen slightly under his leadership, many, including Hollande, acknowledge that the progress was too little, too late.
Hollande's announcement comes at a divisive time in French politics. On Sunday, François Fillon emerged as the nominee for the country's center-right party, defeating former President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Prime Minister Alain Juppé during a two-round primary vote.
Fillon will likely reach the second round of voting in the French presidential election, according to experts familiar with France's political climate. When French citizens head to the polls in May, many expect far-right leader Marine Le Pen, leader of the Front National party, to be voters' other option.
In his Thursday night address, Hollande commented on the rise of far-right support in a country that's long supported strong social programs.
"As a Socialist, because that is my life's commitment, I cannot accept, I cannot come to terms with the dispersion of the left, with its splitting up," he said. "That would remove all hope of winning in the face of conservatism, and, worse yet, of extremism."
It's not immediately clear whether France's Socialist party will nominate another candidate before the Dec. 15 deadline.
Hollande will be the first French president to not seek a second term since 1958.
Staff reporter Ryan Thompson will continue to cover France's presidential election from Paris this spring. You can reach him by email here.