Socialist Francois Hollande wins French presidency


Francois Hollande addressed thousands of jubilant supporters in Paris

French socialist Francois Hollande has won a clear victory in the country's presidential election.

Mr Hollande - who polled just under 52% of votes in Sunday's run-off - spoke of his pride at becoming president.

Admitting defeat, centre-right incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy wished "good luck" to Mr Hollande.

Analysts say the vote has wide implications for the whole eurozone. Mr Hollande has vowed to rework a deal on government debt in member countries.

Shortly after polls closed at 20:00 (18:00 GMT), French media published projections based on partial results giving Mr Hollande a lead of almost four points. Turnout was about 80%.

At the scene

The excitement has been building for two weeks, it was mixed with relief and perhaps some disbelief when the first estimate was broadcast. They have waited 17 years for a Socialist president.

More than 350 polls published since the beginning of this campaign said he would win - still they cannot quite believe it. President Hollande: "It still takes some getting used to," said Senator Helene Conway-Mouret. "A year ago you would never have dreamed it."

A teacher and a lifelong Socialist was standing next to me as the result came in - he wept. "It's an incredible moment," he said. "Not just for the Socialist Party but for France, for Europe. "

In over 30 years in politics Mr Hollande has never served as a minister. For much of his tenure as the party's first secretary from 1997 to 2008 he was seen as a consensus manager - a listener more than a visionary. Now he must lead, making tough choices to put France on the path to recovery.

Jubilant Hollande supporters gathered on Place de la Bastille in Paris - a traditional rallying point of the Left - to celebrate.

People drank champagne and chanted: "Sarko, it's over!"

Mr Hollande - the first Socialist to win the French presidency since Francois Mitterrand in the 1980s - gave his victory speech in his stronghold of Tulle in central France.

He said he was "proud to have been capable of giving people hope again".

He said he would push ahead with his pledge to refocus EU fiscal efforts from austerity to "growth".

"Europe is watching us, austerity can no longer be the only option," he said.

After his speech in Tulle, Mr Hollande headed to Brive airport on his way to Paris to address supporters at Place de la Bastille. His voice hoarse, he spoke of his pride at taking over the mantle of the presidency 31 years almost to the day since Socialist predecessor Francois Mitterrand was elected.

"I am the president of the youth of France," he told the assembled crowd of tens of thousands of supporters, emphasising his "pride at being president of all the republic's citizens". "You are a movement that is rising up throughout Europe," he said.

Mr Hollande has called for a renegotiation of a hard-won European treaty on budget discipline championed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Mr Sarkozy.

Mr Hollande's campaign director, Pierre Moscovici, told AFP news agency that Mrs Merkel had congratulated the president-elect by phone, and that the two had agreed to work together on "a strong Franco-German relationship in the interest of Europe".

Mrs Merkel later said she had invited Mr Hollande to come to Berlin soon, AFP reported.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has also called Mr Hollande to congratulate him.

Nicolas Sarkozy says Francois Hollande must be respected as the new president


Mr Hollande capitalised on France's economic woes and President Sarkozy's unpopularity.

The Socialist candidate has promised to raise taxes on big corporations and people earning more than 1m euros a year.

He wants to raise the minimum wage, hire 60,000 more teachers and lower the retirement age from 62 to 60 for some workers.

In his concession speech, Mr Sarkozy told supporters: "Francois Hollande is the president of France and he must be respected."

The outgoing president said he was "taking responsibility for defeat".

Hollande supporters in Lyon (6 May 2012)

RESULTS (After 99% of vote)

Source: Interior Ministry



F. Hollande


N. Sarkozy




Hinting about his future, he said: "My place will no longer be the same. My involvement in the life of my country will now be different."

During the campaign, he had said he would leave politics if he lost the election.

Mr Sarkozy, who has been in office since 2007, had promised to reduce France's large budget deficit through spending cuts.

He is the latest European leader to be voted out of office amid widespread voter anger at austerity measures triggered by the eurozone debt crisis.

In Greece's parliamentary election on Sunday, voters turned against the two main parties which supported tough budget cuts.

It is only the second time that an incumbent French president has failed to win re-election since the start of the Fifth Republic in 1958.

The last was Valery Giscard d'Estaing, who lost to Mr Mitterrand in 1981.

Mr Hollande is expected to be inaugurated later this month. A parliamentary election is due in June.


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Hollande in power


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  • rate this

    Comment number 192.

    Changing presidents does not matter where you are its always a feeling of dejavu. Whoever wins the only winner is who the public voted for and the rest just 5 more years of a wasted life fraught with scandal and fraud.
    It makes me laugh mention when they phrase "getting people back to work" in order to get votes when all they will do is nothing. What do they have? A magic wand?

  • Comment number 191.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 190.

    188.A Seditious Malcontent

    "What criticism?"

    I asked you to come up with a criticism of Socialist theory, and this is what you wrote

    "Marx had a valid criticism of capitalism, but never addressed the the real problem. Banks create money, that in a democracy should be a public privilege. Not in the hands of private banks"

    Invalid for the reason I pointed out in comment 181.

  • rate this

    Comment number 189.

    Socialists historically spend & spend & spend while taxing companies more which has never fixed any problems.
    What makes anyone think Hollande will be any different?
    France will be virtually bankrupt within 2 years & EU economy collapsed.
    Also watch for massive influx of economic refugees from Morocco, Tunisia & Algeria.
    13 years of Labour ruined UK amid massive immigration, goodbye France.Adieu!

  • rate this

    Comment number 188.

    "I just realised, your criticism is invalid"
    What criticism?
    My original point @137 was that as much as the media have tried to label Monsieur Hollande a socialist, given the training he has received it is unlikely he is, it's only the noe-liberal media that want people to think he is.
    Austerity & public spending are 2 side of same coin, both are ended when people not banks issue money

  • rate this

    Comment number 187.

    Where does the money come from...please don't say the rich...what happens when we run out of the rich...Margaret Thatcher was right on when she said that socialism is great until you run out of people who are paying for it!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    An ill wind begins to blow from the it did in 1933.

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    good luck french you will need it. Raise taxes on big corporations and people earning more than 1m euros a year. middle class will have touble to find a job without the rich class moving their money in france. I gest British, German, and spain should be celebrating.

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    One thing Socialism does is create a lot of very cheap labor. When people are stripped of everything by dictatorial government, they will work for whatever they can get to survive. Just look at the country that's the most communist today, China. When the French credit card runs out, the people in France better be ready to get their hands dirty.

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    @159 Todd T
    "Thanks though for ensuring France is not an economic competitor for a few more years."

    France's GDP is higher than that of the UK (IMF: just dropped below Brazil & back into recession) & productivity (PPP) higher still.

    Shame, as I'm sure they'd like the UK to keep buying their Burgundy, aircraft, cars, perfume, etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    179. Golgotha
    "You keep on dumping on Marx"
    I'm not dumping on him at all. I am on his side in fighting the inequalities in this world. All I was trying to say in 400Ch was that the present electoral system here or elsewhere i.e. France never addresses the real problem.The debts in Europe are solvable once people understand the system & the vested interests.

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    176.A Seditious Malcontent

    "but never addressed the the real problem. Banks create money, that in a democracy should be a public privilege."

    I just realised, your criticism is invalid anyway becuase under Marx's Socialism all the means of production, in this case money would be in the hands of the people anyway, so your concern is adressed within the theory of Socialism.

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    Perhaps this is the kick up the 6, Europe needs to put us back on track, the only question is that if austerity is no longer the route we will be taking, and growth and investment takes centre stage once more, what is going to be done to resolve one of the biggest road block’s to success? Namely the ridiculous price of oil, perhaps an end to the petrodollar is required so we have a fair chance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    176.A Seditious Malcontent

    You keep on dumping on Marx, the theory has evolved since then. Some Socialist today see the movement as diverging away from a monetary system, whilst some propse that Socialism can only work in a non monetary system and there are shades of grey inbetween with hundred of other theories re monetary system and its relation to Socialism.

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    I am at a loss as to why social spending appears to have become the big cause of the GFC and the big obstacle in preventing our recovery??? Has everyone forgotten that actually it was recklessness and lack of regulation withing the banking / finance/ big business sector that led us to this state? Why should we or our governments be expected to save our hard earned pennies to bail them out?!

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    Your going to lose it all kenny.

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    164. Golgotha
    "you've got to come up with a valid criticism of the theory itself"

    Marx had a valid criticism of capitalism, but never addressed the the real problem. Banks create money, that in a democracy should be a public privilege.Not in the hands of private banks

    Banks should only lend money deposited with them. That's what most people think they do anyway.
    After that everything else sorted

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    168. MGary
    This socialist thinks he is different, talks about dignity and special times of France, but he has to obey and yield to the bond market one way or another.

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    @ 121 CTDavies
    "Bring your businesses over too..."

    What, to £-land? No thanks. I want my business to continue to benefit from the solidarity of the €-zone market rather than see my host nation's resources gifted to the govt's wealthy elite buddies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    169.Name Number 6

    Shakespeare for generation Y:

    "2b or not 2b innit m8? I mean like, you now, like, innit m8. like um er... wateva, your're mum is phat"... Wait, is "phat" good or bad? I'm not quite sure.


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