Sunday, 6 May 2012

Francois Hollande Defeats Sarkozy in French Election

A new era has started in France.  The Socialist candidate Francoise Hollande has beaten Nicolas Sarkozy by about four points.  The  French electorate reacted strongly by rejecting Sarkozy's austerity measures and embracing Hollande, who believes more stimulus is needed to ignite the economy.  Sarkozy conceded the victory to his rival in a phone call. 20% of the popular vote went to the far right in France.

Jubilant left-wingers celebrated outside the Socialist Party headquarters and in Paris' Bastille square, with Mr Hollande set to be France's first Socialist president in two decades.

In an acceptance speech in front of thousands of supporters, Francoise Hollande declared victory in the election and said that the people had chosen change by  voting for him. 

 François Gérard Georges Hollande was born on 12 August 1954 and was the First Secretary of the French Socialist Party from 1997 to 2008. He has also been a Deputy of the National Assembly of France for Corrèze's 1st Constituency since 1997, and previously represented that seat from 1988 to 1993. He was the Mayor of Tulle from 2001 to 2008, and has been the President of the General Council of Corrèze since 2008. François Hollande is the president-elect of the French Republic. He was elected on 6 May 2012, over incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy with a predicted 51.90% of the vote. Wikepedia

Hollande has vowed to renegotiate the deal reached with 27 Eurozone countries.  He believes more growth measures are needed.  Since Germany's Chacellor Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy were the main architects of the deal, it will be a hard road to follow for Francois Hollande.  Merkel also has her electorate to consider and Germans are fed up with funding the European Central Bank and countries that refuse to take their medicine.  How will this election outcome affect the EU?

Merkel has invited Francoise Hollande to come to Berlin as soon as possible after taking office.  She obviously sees bilateral talks with the new French President as a priority. 

In an argument that sounds familiar to Americans, Hollande charged Sarkozy with protecting the rich and vowed that he would impose a 75% tax on those making above $1.3 million annually.  The additional funds would be  used to help the poor.

It could be interesting days ahead in France, in fact all of Europe.

Update:  President Obama has invited newly President Elect Francois Hollande to visit him in the White House later this month.  He wants the meeting to take place prior to the G8 Summit to be held at  at his Camp David retreat in Maryland between May 18-19, followed by the NATO transatlantic alliance summit in Chicago on May 20-21.

The two affirmed the importance of the U.S./France relationship.  The invitation was extended during a congratulatory phone call by President Obama in which he "indicated that he looks forward to working closely with Mr Hollande and his government on a range of shared economic and security challenges."

In Tokyo the Euro fell to 1.2982 from 1.3082 on Friday on word that Hollande had defeated Sarkozy.  The National Australia Bank said in a note,  "The Hollande win in France is not necessarily a surprise. However it brings home the reality that incumbents following the (European Union's) prescribed austerity measures are going to find it difficult to remain elected.  What happens to these austerity measures now are what are weighing on the Euro."

"Asian markets have dropped on fresh fears about the eurozone debt crisis after Francois Hollande won the French presidential election. 

Mr Hollande has said that he wants a new emphasis on growth and less on austerity in eurozone spending plans.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 2.8%, South Korea's Kospi shed 1.5% and Australia's ASX 200 dropped 1.14%. 

The euro also fell to a three-month low against the US dollar."  BBC

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