Nicolas Sarkozy says new president Francois Hollande 'must be respected'
Sarkozy has waved goodbye to the Presidency
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Labour has won a string of victories in English and Welsh local elections.
Sunday, 06, May 2012 08:11
By Rich Ward
Francois Hollande has become France's first socialist president since 1995, with projections giving him around a 52 per cent share of the vote.
Outgoing president Nicolas Sarkozy, who got around 48 per cent of the vote, said Mr Hollande "is the president of France and … must be respected".
As Mr Sarkozy gave his concessional speech, Mr Hollande's jubilant supporters gathered to celebrate at the Place de la Bastille.
Given France's central role in the European debt crisis, the emergence of a socialist victor in the presidential race has implications for the whole eurozone, with Mr Hollande keen to shift the focus from austerity to stimulating the economy.
In France itself, high earners are likely to see a considerable rise in the amount of tax they pay, while the minimum wage will rise for the lowest earners.
Mr Sarkozy's loss makes him the first French leader since Valery Giscard d'Estaing in 1981 to fail to win re-election.