In the live televised address Mr Hollande said: “My dear compatriots, the world, Europe and France have all experienced very hard times during my presidency.
“I understand the stakes of the times in which we live. I have the responsibility to ensure that our institutions continue functioning.
“For four-and-a-half years I have served with honesty. Faced with all the trials, I have developed a real sense of resistance against any fatalism or adversity.
“I have never lost leave of my senses and today I’m very much aware of the risks of taking a step that would not bring people together.
“All the progressive forces must unite, because what’s at stake is not one person, it’s the future of our country.
“I don’t want France to exposed to a situation that would be dangerous for its cohesion, its unity, its social equilibrium.”