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)

FINAL RESULTS

Source: Interior ministry

Share

Vote

F. Hollande

51.62%

18,000,438

N. Sarkozy

48.38%

16,869,371

Turnout

80,34%

"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
    +3

    Comment number 299.

    he's not setting France in a new path but back in it's traditional one,,,, the path of Liberty, equality and fraternity.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 298.

    288.Ian - "......What do you think "quantative easing" is?
    It is EXACTLY what is happening now!......"

    Yes & whilst I supported it in principle when the first round happened, I have seen how it hasn't worked (& might even have contributed to rising commodity prices through increased speculation) I have changed my mind on it's merits in the face of the evidence......

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 297.

    an incredible turnout... an incredible result... and an incredible reaction. Heart-stirring stuff from the other side of the channel, which puts us to SHAME. Well done Hollande!

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 296.

    Another Blair lookalike under whom things can only get better.

    When will they ever learn?

    Why is there this belief that social-democracy is somehow socialism? The free and equal society in which there is no exploitation will never exist whilst the taxpayer funded sinecure is the ideal place for pompous theorising.

    How long before the glitter is tarnished and drops off M. Hollande?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 295.

    If this socialist creates wealth and growth, it will be the first time in history!

  • Comment number 294.

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

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 293.

    Can you imagine all the arguments Labour supporters are going to dream up when this goes horribly wrong? This is the end of the Euro, the most expensive mistake in world government (other than the belief that by paying more taxes we can change the weather, of course)

  • Comment number 292.

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

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 291.

    266 Shift That Paradigm

    "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."

    Brilliant!!! Back to 1970s double digit inflation in a thrice. Remember the three day week?

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 290.

    re - redistribution,

    what happens after say 10 years when person A has saved/invested/used their share wisely........ and person B has drank/injected/gambled their share away.

    do we have to redistribute again ?

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 289.

    Does anyone have any hard evidence to prove that the banks have paid back their loans from the tax payer? You know real evidence, not just a banker and Dave saying so.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 288.

    Ref 276.Little_Old_Me
    "Ergo, dilute the value of the money, meaning you need more of it buy the same amount of whatever......."

    What do you think "quantative easing" is?
    It is EXACTLY what is happening now!
    What you have in your pocket or bank is worth less.

    It matters not to the rich because they have more than they need anyway.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 287.

    @249.clive600
    How do you spend your way out of debt?

    The best way for a business to get rid of large debt is to increase its income, to increase income it needs to increase turnover, which requires it to invest in producing more (spend). If the business tries to reduce debt by excessive cuts, it contracts & reduces its income & if the income falls to below its debt repayment, it goes bankrupt

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 286.

    To John :"Build some new schools and show some vision" how on earth does that solve long term economic ills?What planet do you socialists live on?You tried that and failed miserably with Wilson,Callaghan,Blair and Brown.Each labour government make the same mistakes, we are left with a society getting more dependent on benefits as we "import" europeans to do the work we don't want to do anymore.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 285.

    I never saw a beggar on the streets of Britain until Thatchers revolution in 1980. I can still remember seeing this kid in a doorway with a blanket on Princes Street in Edinburgh

    I kept looking at him from my bus, puzzled.

    "What on earth is HE doing??"

    I simply couldn't figure him out at first

    Then it twigged

    I was looking at a street beggar... like in Calcutta... but in Britain

  • rate this
    +57

    Comment number 284.

    Well, this is our chance to see if the 'more spending, less austerity' mindset actually works.

    Before we start denouncing the path our government has taken, in light of Hollandes victory and demanding an alternative, we should watch with interest.

    Will the tax hikes for the super rich be implemented? Will the retirement age be lowered? Will the markets like it?

    Lets just wait and see.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 283.

    A key point from the victory speech in Tulle was that Pres Hollande stated the two foundations for his future policies. Justice and Jeunesse (youth). This is a longer-term project than the markets might immediately respect, but real solutions need this type of vision.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 282.

    Spend Spend Spend! The socialists answer to every woe. Missing out the equation you have to actualy generate money to do so. Labour played the same game, trying to please everyone, throwing cash at everthing (virtually unaudited) from defence to benefits to the Beurozone.And our grandchildren will still be paying for Browns big-spend poiltics.interesting to see how France will pay for its promises

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 281.

    The only good thing about Hollande will be that in an age of austerity we will see how inept socialism is.
    Socialism got the UK into this mess in the first place. The bank bail outs account for a small proportion of the increases in UK debt although everyone focuses on that. Gordon Brown spent way too much creating a nation addicted to benefits.

    Read the book "The Welfare State We Are In".

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 280.

    Ms. Le Pen is ecstatic about the socialist victory because who will the people turn to in order to sort out the chaos that will caused in two to three years. It will be Le Front Nationale.

 

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