French voters booted President Nicolas Sarkozy from power Sunday in one of several elections across Europe in which governments that cut a deal to slash budgets to solve a debt crisis were hammered by the electorate.
"Austerity can no longer be inevitable!" Socialist Fran?ois Hollande declared in a victory speech Sunday night after Sarkozy conceded.
Hollande has never held public office, but had vowed to renegotiate pacts Sarkozy made with the European Union to bail out struggling EU economies such as Greece and Portugal. Sarkozy, who lost 51%-49%, said he failed to convince the French of the value of his policies.
The White House issued the following statement: "President Obama called President-elect Francois Hollande of France to congratulate him after the results of the French election were announced today. President Obama indicated that he looks forward to working closely with Mr. Hollande and his government on a range of shared economic and security challenges. President Obama noted that he will welcome President-elect Hollande to Camp David for the G-8 Summit and to Chicago for the NATO Summit later this month, and proposed that they meet beforehand at the White House. President Obama and President-elect Hollande each reaffirmed the important and enduring alliance between the people of the United States and France."
Christopher Caldwell previewed the French election here: "How did Hollande convince French voters that he was their ideal leader? He didn’t. He sat around not being Sarko, as the president is called. An exit poll found 38 percent of Hollande’s voters chose him because they like him; 60 percent picked him because they dislike Sarko. This may be good news for Mitt Romney, but it is not good news for France." Whole Caldwell piece here.
And Anne-Elisabeth Moutet warned that François Hollande might not be good for the West.