Hollande win French president from Sarkozy

After triumph over Sarkozy, François Hollande will become second Socialist Party head of state elected under the Fifth Republic.

May 7, 2012 04:41
2 minute read.
Francois Hollande, Socialist Party candidate

French presidential candidate Hollande 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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PARIS – François Hollande won the French presidential election on Sunday evening by beating incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in the second and final round of voting, becoming the second Socialist Party head of state elected under the Fifth Republic.

Media outlets published official results at 8 p.m.: 51.9 percent for Hollande and 48.1% for Sarkozy.

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Many French citizens knew the results earlier in the day. At 6:30 p.m., accurate information about the final score – much of it coming from foreign media, especially in Belgium – started circulating by SMS messages, emails and phone conversations.

Some journalists shared the timely information with election officials as well as with supporters and opponents of the two candidates.

Thousands of French citizens waited for the results at Hollande headquarters, on Rue de Solferino near the National Assembly. Journalists from all over the world were asked to “circulate” in the street, and not to stake out a good spot near the headquarters.

Others began gathering early in the evening at the Place de la Bastille, where socialists celebrated the victory of the only socialist president so far – François Mitterrand – in 1981.

On the other side, at the Mutualité conference center, UMP supporters were nervous throughout the latter part of the day, after hearing the rumors of their defeat.

Before the results were published, a party planned by UMP at the Place de la Concorde was suddenly canceled, according to a source at France Inter radio who announced to The Jerusalem Post, “Hollande took it!” Sarkozy retired to his office to work on his speech, while Hollande – who voted and spent all day in the southern town of Tulle – prepared to come back to Paris, in the hope of speaking to the “people of the Left” in the Place de la Bastille.

Ségolène Royal, from Hollande’s party (she lost the 2007 presidential race to Sarkozy), said after the results were announced: “I have a feeling of very deep happiness.”

François Cope, head of Sarkozy’s UMP, called for “a general mobilization at the coming legislative elections, in order to save France in decisive issues such as the nuclear one and the question of the vote for foreigners.”

Henri Guaino, Sarkozy’s special adviser, prepared two speeches for his boss, one in case of victory, and one in case of defeat.

However, Sarkozy spoke without reading from his prepared notes.

“François Hollande is the president of France and must be respected as that. I have already suffered lack of respect to the institution I represent. Let’s not give a bad example. I have called François Hollande and wished him good luck,” he said.

“My wish is to retire from political life... my engagements will be from now on different,” Sarkozy concluded as his supporters shouted “Nicolas! Nicolas!” “Let’s be a France which considers the other as a rival and not an enemy,” the outgoing president said.

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