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French president Hollande's popularity inches up: poll

France's President Francois Hollande delivers his speech during the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Organization of African Uni
France's President Francois Hollande delivers his speech during the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Organization of African Uni

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande's popularity rating inched up in May from a record low the previous month, a poll showed on Sunday, a rare positive sign after a first year in office marked by rising unemployment.

Hollande's approval rating rose by 4 percentage points to 29 percent in May, as perceptions improved among his own Socialist Party voters, pensioners, blue-collar workers and women, the survey by pollster IFOP in weekly paper JDD showed.

The Socialist leader has carried out two major reforms, loosening labor laws and allowing same-sex marriage, since he took office last May, as well as ordering a military operation in Mali to help oust Islamist fighters.

However, he has been plagued by unemployment that has risen above 10 percent, stalled growth and pressure to reduce France's public deficit, while his same-sex marriage law has infuriated a swathe of French society and prompted huge street protests.

His low popularity score is worse than almost all previous presidents at the same point in their terms. Views of his policies are still declining among business leaders, shopkeepers and right-wing voters, and remain negative on the far left.

(Reporting by Nicholas Vinocur; Editing by Alison Williams)

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