Reuters International

French President Francois Hollande waits for a guest at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

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PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande's ratings fell to a fresh low in an opinion poll published on Thursday, another sign of the challenges he faces before next year's presidential election.

Only 16 percent of voters trust Hollande can efficiently tackle France's problems, the survey by Elabe pollsters showed, down from 18 percent last month and 58 percent when he was elected in May 2012.

The latest drop in popularity came despite good news over the past couple of weeks on the economic front, including a drop in jobless numbers and better-than-expect growth in the first quarter.

Despite being dogged by record-low popularity over high unemployment, doubts over his leadership and policy U-turns on security, Hollande is looking for a new mandate. He has just kicked off an unofficial campaign to rally his supporters and convince voters that his policies are bearing fruit.

The poll was carried out after Hollande and his government hammered for days that "things are going better".

French voters are not convinced. Only one in seven say the economic environment has improved over the past few months. Two-thirds expect it will get worse by the end of Hollande's mandate, according to a poll published on Wednesday by BVA pollsters.

(Reporting by Ingrid Melander, editing by Larry King)

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