|Nicolas Sarkozy suffers humiliating poll defeat|
|Monday, 07 May 2012 00:00|
PARIS. — Francois Hollande was elected France’s first Socialist president in nearly two decades yesterday, dealing a humiliating defeat to incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy and shaking up European politics.
Hollande, a 57-year-old centre-left moderate, won the vote with between 52 and 53 percent, according to several estimates, becoming France’s first Socialist president since Francois Mitterrand left office in 1995.
Three polling institutes — CSA, TNS Sofres and Ipsos — estimated that Hollande had won 52 percent of the vote to Sarkozy’s 48, based on
samples of actual ballots taken before the official end of polling at 8pm.
Hollande, who led in the polls throughout the campaign, won the April 22 first round with 28,6 percent to 27,2 percent for Sarkozy, making the right-winger the first-ever incumbent to lose in the first round.
More than 46 million people were eligible to vote.
Hollande has vowed to renegotiate the hard-fought fiscal austerity pact signed by EU leaders in March and to make it focus more on growth, but is facing resistance from Merkel.
The French vote coincides with an election in Greece, where voters were also expected to punish the governing parties for landing the country in its bleak economic state.
Anger over sputtering economies has brought down leaders from Ireland to Portugal since the debt crisis washed over the European continent.
Sarkozy fought a fierce campaign, saying a victory for Hollande would spark market panic and financial chaos and calling him a “liar” and “slanderer” in the final days of the race. — AFP.