Outgoing French President Francois Hollande Says 'Ultimate Duty' Is to Prevent Marine Le Pen Victory

French President Francois Hollande
The French President Francois Hollande, speaking at the International Agricultural Show in Paris, February 25. Hollande said his ultimate aim was to prevent Marine Le Pen winning victory in the French presidential election. Christian Hartmann/Reuters

Outgoing French President Francois Hollande said in European newspaper interviews published on Monday that his "ultimate duty" was to prevent a victory of far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen in this year's election.

"My ultimate duty is to make sure that France is not won over by such a program, and that France does not bear such a heavy responsibility," said Hollande of the risk of a Le Pen victory in the election.

He added it was inevitable that the European Union would have countries progressing at "different speeds" and that he saw no reason to call into question Donald Tusk's role as president of the European Council. He also said the "euphoria" of financial markets after the election of U.S President Donald Trump appeared to be "very premature".

The interview was published in Le Monde, La Stampa, The Guardian, La Vanguardia, Suddeutsche Zeitung and Gazeta Wyborcza.