Sun, May 06, 2012
World > Europe > 2012 French Election

Hollande wins election runoff, vows to serve France well

2012-05-06 20:47:14 GMT2012-05-07 04:47:14(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

France's Socialist Party's candidate Francois Hollande addresses supporters after he defeated incumbent French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Sunday's decisive presidential runoff, in Tulle, southern France, May 6, 2012. (Xinhua/Gao Jing)

PARIS, May 6 (Xinhua) -- Francois Hollande has won the French presidential election against the Nicolas Sarkozy in the final polling, according to all available exit polls and partial official counts of ballots from the interior ministry by Sunday night.

Official result with more details, to be published early next week by the Constitutional Council, is for sure to be in line with the current estimates and all previous opinion polls' prediction of Hollande's victory.

While addressing to a large number of his supporters in Tulle city, Hollande vowed to serve the country well and bring change from now on.

Upon his inauguration, the first mission would be uniting the French people, facing all challenges and getting the country out of crisis, said the ambitious and rising political star.

"I feel proud of bringing hope to the country," he told joyful crowds in the downtown of the Tulle, where he had served as mayor from 2001 to 2008.

Hollande, leading 1.5 percent in the first round of the election, has long been forecast to win the second round. He is expected to take over from Sarkozy on May 15 by the latest and then head to a G8 meeting and a NATO meeting both in the United States.

Hollande also promised to implement his his economic plans without much delay, such as imposing more taxes on rich people and adding 60,000 teachers.

Grand celebrations for his victory have been witnessed also at the Bastille square in Paris for the whole night, an iconic place of the French revolution.

As Europe's second largest economy, France has 46 million registered voters, about 82 percent of whom were estimated to have cast their ballots on Sunday.

The outgoing president Nicolas Sarkozy, on the other hand, conceded his defeat in Sunday's runoff and wished his rival "good luck" as the new president.

"The new French president needs to be respected," Sarkozy told emotional supporters, adding that he was "responsible for the defeat in the election."

"My engagement with the life of my country will now be different, but time will never strain the bonds between us," he also said he would step back from frontline politics.

Francois Cope, the general secretary of Sarkozy's right-wing UMP party, while congratulating Hollande's victory in an interview with the TV channel France 2, also defended for Sarkozy, saying he was an exceptional president who had made difficult reforms at a time of crisis.

Also on Sunday night, European leaders, including British Prime Minister David Cameron and Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, all extended their congratulations to Hollande, while all vowing to work for a close partnership in the future.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle also hailed Hollande's triumph as a "historical event," calling for close partnership with France. He also added that they would work together on a "growth pact," apparently in response to Hollande's campaigning promise of renegotiating the hard-won EU's fiscal treaty.

Analysts say it may take some time for Hollande to get along with all the other EU leaders, but France under the new president will soon establish a new partnership with Germany, as what Sarkoy and Merkel did especially in co-handling the eurozone's sovereign debt crisis.

Hollande already announced that his first foreign meeting would be with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Franco-German relationship has been the heart of European integration especially since the debt crisis in 2009.

Last but certainly not the least, Hollande's Socialist party still has to focus on two rounds of parliamentary election in mid and late June, so does Sarkozy's UMP and other political parties in France.

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