France has claimed the position of the country least trusted by its people, according to an influential survey by the world's largest public relations firm.
A thumping 72 percent of the French population agree that the institutional system is failing them, placing the country in joint last position alongside neighboring Italy, according to the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer.
Immigration, globalization and eroding social values are highlighted as underpinning the negative results, revealing a disheartening sentiment ahead of this spring's French presidential election.
The research warns of the consequences playing out in both France and other countries where public disillusion is heightened.
"Countries that combine a lack of faith in the system with deep societal fears, such as France, Italy, South Africa, the U.S. and Mexico, are electing or moving towards populist candidates," reads the research.
The disappointment also extends beyond the least enfranchised to the better-off elements of French society. While only a very weak 38 percent of the mass population trust institutions in France, a mere 56 percent of the category described as the 'informed public' still maintains its faith in the same institutions.