Francois Hollande was elected France’s first Socialist president in nearly two decades on Sunday dealing a humiliating defeat to incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy and shaking up European politics.
The result will have major implications for Europe as it struggles to emerge from a financial crisis and for France, the eurozone’s second-largest economy and a nuclear-armed permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Hollande, a 57-year-old centre-left moderate, won the vote with between 52 and 53 per cent, according to several estimates, becoming France’s first Socialist president since Francois Mitterrand left office in 1995.
Nicolas Sarkozy conceded to challenger Francois Hollande Sunday as results from exit polls and official tallies in the runoff election came in.
“I take the responsibility for this loss,” Sarkozy said from his Paris campaign headquarters, as members of the crowd shouted, “No!”
“I’m ready to become a French person amongst French people, and more than ever I have the love for my country deeply ingrained in my heart,” Sarkozy said.
With more than two-thirds of votes counted, Hollande was leading with 50.8% to Sarkozy’s 49.2%, the nation’s Interior Ministry said.