Francois Hollande to set France on new course after win


Hollande came to Paris late on Sunday evening to make a victory speech

French President-elect Francois Hollande is to start work on forming a new government, after telling supporters his victory gave hope of an end to austerity.

Mr Hollande has vowed to rework a deal on government debt in eurozone member-countries to focus on promoting growth.

The Socialist leader won just under 52% of votes in Sunday's run-off election.

Centre-right incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy is the first French president since 1981 not to win a second term.

He will hand power to Mr Hollande on 15 May, following talks between the two camps, the presidency has said.

Mr Hollande must act quickly to reassure other eurozone countries he is up to the considerable challenge he faces, the BBC's Christian Fraser reports from Paris.

Invitation to Berlin

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.

At the scene

After the euphoria of election night, it was back down to earth on Monday morning as Mr Hollande moved quickly on, to the business of preparing to govern. Over the next few days, he will be drawing up the list of names for his first government, which will take over after the handover of presidential power next week.

Favourite for the post of prime minister is Jean-Marc Ayrault, a veteran socialist parliamentarian and mayor of the city of Nantes, who is also a German speaker and could help build up relations with Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. The new government's primary task will be to prepare for more elections, this time for the parliament or national assembly, which will take place at the start of June.

These are crucial because Mr Hollande needs a parliamentary majority in order to see through his programme. At the moment, the assembly is dominated by supporters of Mr Sarkozy. Parliamentary elections like these that immediately follow presidential elections tend to deliver the head of state the majority he requires, but it is not a foregone conclusion; the next few weeks in France will see yet more passionate political campaigning.

Mrs Merkel congratulated the president-elect by phone and invited him to Berlin to hold talks soon, but she warned the fiscal compact was "not up for grabs".

"The core of the discussion is really all about... whether we are going to have again programmes for growth which are on the back of debt or indeed whether we are going to have programmes for growth that are sustainable and indeed rely on the competitiveness of the countries," she told a news conference in Berlin.

In Washington, a White House spokesman said the alliance between France and the US was "as strong today as it was last week".

Spokesman Jay Carney said President Barack Obama had called Mr Hollande to congratulate him on the victory, adding that the US leader was looking forward to welcoming the president-elect to a Nato and G8 summit in the US later this month.

Mr Carney also said that President Obama had telephoned Mr Sarkozy to thank him for his "strong leadership and for his friendship and partnership in challenging times".

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

Mr Hollande feeds a renewed sense of hope in the country - particularly among the young - that amid the austerity, there can be jobs and salaries, our correspondent says. However, the debt problems for France are still the same.

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

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

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

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

"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 to fly to Paris to address supporters at the Place de la Bastille.

"I am the president of the youth of France," he told the assembled crowd of tens of thousands of supporters.

"You are a movement that is rising up throughout Europe," he said.

'Clique' warning

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 centre-right president said he was "taking responsibility for defeat".

Hollande supporters in Lyon (6 May 2012)


Source: Interior ministry



F. Hollande



N. Sarkozy





"My place will no longer be the same. My involvement in the life of my country will now be different."

Mr Sarkozy also held a meeting with senior members of his UMP party, warning against infighting after the electoral defeat.

"For the future, avoid banding into cliques," he was quoted as saying by a participant of the meeting.

Mr Sarkozy also reportedly said he would give more details in September about what he intended to do in the future.

During the campaign, the outgoing president 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 becomes the latest European leader to be voted out of office amid widespread voter anger at austerity measures triggered by the eurozone debt crisis.

France is due to hold a parliamentary election in June.


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Hollande in power


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  • rate this

    Comment number 279.

    @258.mrcynict4, I dont remember that quote from the God Delusion by Dawkins.....

    @269, its 12 zeros. The banks like RBS have already paid back most of thier loans, in RBS's case 163 Billion (9 0's), So they should be in a position to start buying back the government owned shares sometime next year.

  • rate this

    Comment number 278.

    It's interesting that such a forum always turns into a debate about UK politics. We are supposed to be discussing the French election which will have effects throughout Europe. The first test will come when M. Hollande meets "Mutti" Merkel the conservative ex-communist queen of Europe. (She is a product of the DDR now running the Christian Democrats - huh?). Austerity is her baby.

  • rate this

    Comment number 277.

    This will not go down well for the relationship between Britain and France, because Socialism and Conservatism are opposite ends of the spectrum and this will make any future co-operation harder to agree on."

    Really? Thatcher and Mitterrand got on surprisingly well during the 1980s.

  • rate this

    Comment number 276.

    266.Shift That Paradigm - ".....Stop borrowing bankers' currency from banks & let the sovereign government create its own currency to spend......"

    Ergo, dilute the value of the money, meaning you need more of it buy the same amount of whatever.....if you diluted your dinner with water you'd have a bigger plateful but still the same no. of calories.......

  • rate this

    Comment number 275.

    France & Germany both at fault over appalling, stupid EZ mess but at least Germany has always paid it's way. Until CAP is reformed France will carry on with free ride.

    Retirement at 62 indeed!

  • rate this

    Comment number 274.

    This is sooo predictable...the "Market" will play the terror game....passing the "End of world feeling "... .dropping 2, 3 ,4 5 % , demonizing the Frenchy...trying to scare everyone ..then S&P , Fitch, Moody will state a warning to France..(Just to let'im know who's the "Boss"..)... then will hold the world as hostage... Let's not be contaminated by the news... let's not be puppets..

  • rate this

    Comment number 273.

    This will not go down well for the relationship between Britain and France, because Socialism and Conservatism are opposite ends of the spectrum and this will make any future co-operation harder to agree on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 272.

    Euro declines 1% against the pound immediately the result is announced.

    You can't spend it if you haven't got it and growth suggests producing more for less which is not something socialist governments (especially French ones) are renowned for enouraging.

    Trouble ahead for Euroland methinks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 271.

    if spending your way out of debt is the correct thing to do when the books don't balance.......

    why don't lenders just lend more when people default on loans ?

    But I'm glad he is in, then we can watch what happens to France and either jump the same way or follow the path we are on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 270.

    @243 zzgrark

    "Besides, it's their money, not his, so they don't have to take the risk....".

    But they cannot have their cake and eat it. Choosing to not invest your money into A or B is one thing; directly manipulating a national economy to your own ends is another thing entirely. Wielding economic power in that manner makes you an enemy of that state.

  • rate this

    Comment number 269.

    257. Stebizzle we paid £1 trillion pounds to bail out our finances sector. do you even know how many zeros that is? we would still have had a rolling deficit, but we wouldn't have had to as much to pay.

  • rate this

    Comment number 268.

    Good luck Mr Hollande! I would love to see something other than austerity get us all out of this mess. I sincerely hope it does! unfortunately I'm not holding my breath.

  • rate this

    Comment number 267.

    So we have a socialist in power in a country very similar to ours ,though with more state intervention,so we will get some sort of comparison now between the spend spend spend style of dealing with western economic woes and the cut cut cut version.I know who my money is on and its not La Francais.The last Labour government showed just how not to do it I bet the French find the same!

  • rate this

    Comment number 266.

    249 Clive600 "How do you spend your way out of debt?"
    Stop borrowing bankers' currency from banks & let the sovereign government create its own currency to spend this into circulation interest-free for national use for infrastructure, et c.

    This is perfectly possible. If we join with people-friendly governments across the world we can overthrow the toxic international banking institutions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 265.

    I can't help but be struck by the difference between France and the UK. Over the channel you see a message of hope, fairness and equality. Here in the UK it feels very much like the 90's under Major, depressed and directionless. The Conservatives have a major problem now, they are seen a purely the party of cuts and negativity. Build some new schools and hospitals Dave! Show vision.

  • rate this

    Comment number 264.

    For all those commentors predicting failure of the policies of Pres Hollande, checkout what Pres Roosevelt did in the US in the 1930s or see - France just might have some answers, although it will not be easy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 263.

    We thought the Euro zone crisis was bad... it just got a whole lot worse. France will borrow money it doesn't have and plummet itself into further debt. Greece is in further chaos with communists and neo-nazis set to wreak havoc in parliament and on austerity plans. More borrowing, more debt on the way. Exactly how this problem started. We really are in trouble now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 262.

    Wow - imagine actually having the option to vote for a genuinely socialist party – actually having a choice that isn't Very Tory, Tory-ish, or Still Quite Tory.

  • rate this

    Comment number 261.

    "won just under 52% of votes".
    It would be somewhat shorter, accurate and respect to your readers to have written 51.9%. Small point, but it's really annoying when the BBC keep on doing this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 260.

    244. jimmy2good "M Hollande will find out, tomorrow, what he can do . Standard and Poor's will tell him." therein lies the hypocrisy of capitalism. the same people who wrongly told investors that sub-prime mortgage products were safe (causing the banking crisis), now tell countries how much they will get to borrow at. the markets make mistakes, working people pay.


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