France Elects New President

Posted May 7th, 2012 at 6:15 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

France has a new leader after Socialist challenger Francois Hollande beat conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in the French presidential election.

Final results Monday show Mr. Hollande won 51.6 percent of the vote to Mr. Sarkozy's 48.4 percent in Sunday's runoff election. French media say the outgoing president will officially hand over power on May 15.

The vote reflected citizens' disapproval of the country's spending cuts and high unemployment. The outgoing president said he takes responsibility for the election loss.

Mr. Hollande opposes many of the tough economic austerity measures in France. He will be the first left-wing French leader in almost 20 years.

Mr. Hollande 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.

U.S. President Barack Obama telephoned his congratulations to Mr. Hollande Sunday and invited him to the White House before the G-8 and NATO summits later this month.