As it happened: France elects a new president

Key points

  • French conservative leader Nicolas Sarkozy has narrowly lost to Socialist challenger Francois Hollande in the first round of the president election.
  • Mr Sarkozy and Mr Hollande will now go into a run-off vote on 6 May.
  • The far right's Marine Le Pen took around a fifth of the vote while the far left's Jean-Luc Melenchon won 12%, and the centrist Francois Bayrou took 9%, based on incomplete estimates.
  • The country has been led by conservative presidents for 17 years, since the Socialist Francois Mitterrand stood down in 1995.
  • With France the world's fifth-largest economy and a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council, the final outcome of the election may have an impact far beyond the eurozone.
  • All times in BST (France: BST+1)

Live text

Reporting:

  • Patrick Jackson 

Last updated 4 May 2012

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