Socialist Hollande Wins French Presidency

Posted May 6th, 2012 at 7:35 pm (UTC-5)
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France will have a new leader, after Socialist challenger Francois Hollande beat conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in the French presidential election Sunday.

With nearly all ballots counted in the runoff election, official results give Mr. Hollande 52 percent of the vote to Mr. Sarkozy's 48 percent.

Mr. Sarkozy called his challenger to concede defeat shortly after projections showed him likely to lose.

French voters were apparently angry with high unemployment and no longer attracted by Mr. Sarkozy's brash political style. He said he takes responsibility for the loss.

Mr. Hollande will be the first left-wing French leader in almost 20 years.

He is regarded as a mild-mannered career politician. He has promised to move quickly to implement a traditional socialist tax-and-spend program with higher taxes on the rich to help finance increased state spending.

He also is expected to try to renegotiate European Union-imposed austerity measures, by meeting first with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The White House says President Barack Obama telephoned his congratulations to Mr. Hollande and invited him to the White House before he comes to the United States for the G-8 and NATO summits later this month.