France's Hollande made left-wing voters feel betrayed - ex-partner

By Andrew Osborn

LONDON (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande suffers record low popularity because he has failed to deliver promised reforms and left left-wing voters feeling betrayed, his ex-partner Valerie Trierweiler said on Sunday.

In an interview to promote the English-language version of her book about her time as France's first lady and her seven-year relationship with Hollande, Trierweiler suggested the president was selfish and sometimes stretched the truth.

"It's not revenge, it's not about destroying him, it's about me rebuilding myself," she said of her book, "Thank You For This Moment", which accuses Hollande of dismissively describing the poor as "the toothless."

She said in a BBC television interview that politicians "do not become president if they are not self-centred or if they are not sometimes economical with the truth. I don't think President Hollande has more faults than another president."

Half-way into his five-year mandate, the popularity of the 60-year-old Socialist hit a new low this month as business leaders rounded on him for what they said were his faltering efforts to kickstart the eurozone's second largest economy.

Trierweiler, 49, said his unpopularity was due to his failure to deliver on policy. "The problem is that the results are not forthcoming and the French people are waiting for them," she said.

"He committed himself to a certain number of reforms, notably in the fight against unemployment. He promised that the figures would come down and they haven't. His falling popularity is as much to do with that as anything else."

Trierweiler lived with Hollande at the Elysee presidential palace for a year and a half until a gossip magazine exposed his secret relationship with actress Julie Gayet, 42, in January.

Hollande's Elysee Palace has refused to comment on her book. The president broke his own silence on the matter earlier this month, saying he realised Trierweiler had suffered because of the nature of their separation.

He said he forgave her for expressing her pain.

Trierweiler said on Sunday she hoped her book would help Hollande correct his political course.

"I hope this book will give him a jolt," she said. "I hope it will help him to see the mistakes he has made and those he should stop making and why left-wing voters are feeling betrayed."

(Editing by Tom Heneghan)