Francois Hollande will not seek re-election as French president

Francois Hollande will not seek a second term as president, the Frenchman has announced.

The 62-year-old socialist revealed that he will not attempt to extend his four-year stay at the Élysée Palace.

Hollande, who was elected in 2012, has battled deep unpopularity among the French public.

His ratings suffered significantly in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in both Paris and Nice.

Before making his announcement on Thursday, Hollande was aware he faced a tough contest for re-election - with Marine Le Pen leading the far-right National Front and Francois Fillon the centre-right.

The National Front in particular have made large strides under Le Pen's leadership.

Marine Le Pen of the National Front is running for president Credit: Reuters

"I have decided not to be a candidate to the renewal of my mandate," said Hollande, who will hand over to his successor in May.

"In the months to come my sole duty will be to continue to lead the state, the mandate for which you elected me in 2012".

Hollande's decision not to seek re-election means the Socialist Party will now go forward under a new candidate five years after he ended the centre-right's 17-year stranglehold on the French presidency.

The Socialist Party will select its candidate for the Élysée Palace in primaries in January.