Sunday, May 6, 2012

Socialist François Hollande Wins French Presidential Election

See the live blog Telegraph UK, "Hollande defeats Sarkozy to win French presidential election."

And at Los Angeles Times, "Hollande wins French presidential race: Victory could change how Europe tackles debt crisis":

PARIS -- Socialist Francois Hollande was elected president of France on Sunday, defeating conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in a race that focused heavily on the country's economic woes.

Sarkozy conceded defeat shortly after the polls closed, wishing Hollande "good luck" as the nation's new leader. The results made Sarzoky the first French president in more than three decades to lose a reelection bid.

Partial official results, with about half of the nationwide votes counted, showed Hollande with 50.8% compared with 49.2% for for Sarkozy, the Associated Press said.

Hollande’s victory could also raise further questions about Europe’s economic future, including France’s commitment to reining in its spending while the rest of the 17 countries that use the euro embark on a strict period of belt-tightening. It also throws into doubt the German-French partnership that has led the eurozone's response to its financial problems and was built on the personal relationship between Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Hollande, 57, had been the front-runner in the opinion polls from the beginning of the campaign and scored higher than Sarkozy in the first-round vote two weeks ago. It was the first time an incumbent president had lost the first ballot, in which a total of 10 candidates stood.

In the run-up to Sunday's final vote, however, the gap between the two men closed from 10 percentage points to just 4, suggesting a last-minute surge of support for Sarkozy, who surveys showed was the most unpopular president ever to run for reelection.

To the very end, Sarkozy, 56, was convinced that despite the devastating opinion polls showing him trailing badly he would snatch victory from the jaws of his predicted defeat.
Also at Der Spiegel, "Voters Say 'Au Revoir' to Sarkozy: Socialist Hollande to Become Next French President."

Plus, recall the comments from Sultan Knish, "Niggas in Paris."

And more video at Agence France-Presse, here.

I'm not so pessimistic on French life chances following the vote. The socialists will just continue to do what France has been doing for decades --- consolidate state power over the individual. The most important implication will be for the EU as a whole. The common European project is in tatters and could very well fall apart if Hollande adopts a nationalist agenda vis-a-vis the EU. That in turn depends on how Germany reacts to the election. It's a Franco-German condominium that holds up the entire European edifice. If Berlin moves to promote more austerity, for the French as well as the EU all together, we can see expect even more strains on political and monetary union going forward. I'm not so bullish on the EU continuing forward much longer in its current state. There may be some changes, cutting off some of the more peripheral partners for example to save the core members of the union.

I'll have updates with reactions from around the Internet, so check back...

UPDATE: More at Wall Street Journal and Memeorandum.

And at the New York Times, "France Selects Hollande as President."

MORE: Don't miss this post: "ZOMG! New Euro Crisis as French Vote For Return of Ruinous Spending."

Plus, linked at Atlas Shrugs and Instapundit. Thanks!

Also linked at Fausta's Blog: "France: Hollande in, Ferraris out." Thanks!