Paris, France – Socialist Francois Hollande defeated conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy today and with his victory has become the President of France. Hollande will be expected to offer a range of changes in respect to how Europe handles its debt crisis, French military strategy and hoe French diplomacy will be shaped.
Sarkozy called Hollande minutes after the polls closed to wish him luck as the country’s new leader. It was widely expected that Hollande would defeat Sarkozy.
Crowds filled the Place de la Bastille, the iconic plaza of the French Revolution, to celebrate Hollande’s victory. He is the first French leftist to be voted into power since 1995.
Hollande’s former partner and mother of his children, Segolene Royal, said,
She has a “feeling of profound joy to see millions and millions of French renew the tie to the left. The French can be confident. We will need everyone to help the country recover.” Royal faced off Sarkozy in the 2007 election.
Partial official results, with about half of the nationwide votes counted, showed Hollande with 50.8 percent compared to 49.2 percent for Sarkozy. It is expected that the final vote will stay at about the same percentages.
Hollande ran on a policy of renegotiating a European treaty on budget cuts that Germany’s Angela Merkel and Sarkozy had championed.
Regardless of France’s large debts Hollande wants the government to urgently spend on government stimulus and in general he wants to increase French governmental spending on societal programs.
It is expected that Hollande’s win will also radically change the French mission in Afghanistan. Many countries are on edge wondering how French foreign policy will change with Hollande at the helm.