Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

Read more

#TECH 24

Internet of Things

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

WEB NEWS

NSA targets 'Tor' network users

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users call for peace in Gaza

Read more

  • France honours those lost on Air Algérie Flight AH5017

    Read more

  • Video: Slaviansk mourns mass grave victims

    Read more

  • Video: Ethiopia turns to wine to boost image, economy

    Read more

  • Thousands gather in Marseille in support of Israel

    Read more

  • Luc Besson’s sci-fi thriller ‘Lucy’ tops US box office

    Read more

  • As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

    Read more

  • Liberia tightens border controls to curb Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • The centenary of Austria-Hungary’s calamitous last hurrah

    Read more

  • UN Security Council calls for immediate Gaza ceasefire

    Read more

  • Nibali joins elite group with Tour de France win

    Read more

  • France calls on its nationals to leave Libya as violence escalates

    Read more

  • Boko Haram kidnap Cameroon minister's wife in deadly attack

    Read more

  • Muslims prepare for Eid al-Fitr festival

    Read more

  • ‘Irresponsible’ American dad tries to scale Mont Blanc with children

    Read more

  • Ukraine fighting prevents observers from accessing MH17 crash site

    Read more

  • In pictures: Crowds flock to enjoy the Tour de France show

    Read more

  • Netanyahu says Hamas 'violating its own ceasefire'

    Read more

  • Video: At the scene of the Air Algérie crash in Mali

    Read more

  • Costa Concordia arrives in port of Genoa to be scrapped

    Read more

  • In pictures: Youths clash with police at banned Gaza protest

    Read more

  • Russia lashes out at new EU sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • Bodies of all Air Algérie crash victims to be brought to France

    Read more

  • Syrian army and ISIS both claim advances

    Read more

  • Briton kidnapped in Yemen freed after five months

    Read more

France

Socialist Hollande triumphs in French presidential poll

Text by Joseph BAMAT

Latest update : 2012-05-06

Left-wing candidate François Hollande has defeated incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in Sunday's runoff, exit polls say, becoming the first Socialist to win a presidential election since François Mitterrand in 1988.

François Hollande has won France’s presidential election, giving the country its first Socialist president in almost two decades, exit polls showed Sunday.

According to Ipsos polling institute, the left-wing candidate took 51.7% of the vote to incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy’s 48.3%.

Celebrations are underway at the iconic Place de la Bastille in central Paris, the same spot where the last Socialist to win a presidential election, François Mitterrand, celebrated his first victory back in 1981.

Hollande, who voted on Sunday in the central Corrèze region, which he represents in the French parliament, was considered the frontrunner throughout the campaign, at times leading his rival by as much as 10% in opinion polls.

He finished ahead in the first round on April 22, claiming 28.63% of votes cast against Sarkozy's 27.18%.

In a twin blow to Sarkozy between the two rounds, far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and centrist François Bayrou, who gathered around 18% and 9% respectively in the first round, both denied the incumbent an endorsement. Bayrou told supporters his personal vote would go to Hollande, while Le Pen said she would cast a blank vote.

At 80%, according to Ipsos, voter turnout was strong, though slightly lower than the 84% reached in 2007.

Hollande is due to be sworn in as France’s president on May 14 or 15.

Winning platform

Sunday's election capped a stunning comeback for Hollande, whose career appeared to be all but over after he left the leadership of the Socialist Party in 2008.

It also marked the end of a year-long campaign for the veteran politician, who won his party’s internal primaries in October of last year, establishing himself from the start as a moderate left-winger with the best chances of appealing to centrists and beating Sarkozy.

In an often bitter presidential campaign, Hollande promised to hire more staff to boost France’s state education system and to reduce the retirement age from 62 to 60 for people who have completed a minimum 41 years of work.

He also pledged to raise taxes on the wealthy and balance the country's budget by 2017.

And while both the far right and Sarkozy adopted an anti-immigration stance during the campaign, the Socialist candidate stood by a promise to give foreigners the right to vote in local elections.

Socialists return to power

On Sunday, Sarkozy became only the second French president to fail to claim a second mandate since Valéry Giscard d'Estaing was swept out of office in 1981.

It was also the first time the Socialist Party won a presidential contest since Mitterrand's re-election in 1988.

France's Socialists will be hoping to use the vote’s momentum to win back a majority in parliament in elections this June.

Before then, governments around the world will be keenly watching Hollande's first steps on the issue of Europe’s continuing debt crisis

The Socialist president-elect, who has emerged as a new champion for Europe's anti-austerity camp, was expected to call German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday evening.

Merkel, who has advocated strict austerity in Europe, backed Sarkozy in the elections.

“He will talk with the German chancellor because in that exchange lies the key to Europe’s recovery, redirecting Europe towards growth, competitiveness and protection,” said Jean-Marc Ayrault, a prominent Socialist who is being touted as a possible future prime minister.

A meeting of the so-called Group of Eight leading world economies on May 18 in the United States could be the first opportunity for Hollande to shake hands with President Barack Obama and other heads of state.

 

Date created : 2012-05-06

  • FRENCH ELECTIONS 2012

    Live blog: Hollande's victory as it happened

    Read more

  • FRENCH ELECTION 2012

    Centrist Bayrou's tactical game in supporting Hollande

    Read more

  • FRANCE 24/RFI EXCLUSIVE

    Hollande says Sarkozy has damaged France’s image

    Read more

COMMENT(S)