Monday, May 07, 2007
France Bids Adieu To Socialism
Conservative Nicolas Sarkozy has won the hotly-contested French presidential election, according to early results.
The final count gave Mr Sarkozy 53.06%, compared with 46.94% for socialist Segolene Royal, with turnout at 85%.
Mr Sarkozy, 52, the son of a Hungarian immigrant, takes over from the 74-year-old Jacques Chirac.
Riot police have fired tear gas at demonstrators protesting in central Paris at Mr Sarkozy's victory.
According to the French news agency AFP, a few hundred stone-throwing rioters charged the police in the Place de la Bastille, where 5,000 supporters of Segolene Royal had earlier gathered to hear the results.
He said the US could count on France's friendship, but urged Washington to take a lead in the fight against climate change.
A New Movement Afoot? BBC:
Sunday night, it was a jubilant Nicolas Sarkozy who performed France's traditional presidential victory parade - around the Arc de Triomphe and down the Champs Elysees, to popping champagne corks and the raucous cheers of his staunch supporters.
There is a feeling in Paris tonight that France has made a fresh start.
The 52-year-old Nicolas Sarkozy scandalised the Paris elite a few years ago when he admitted to constantly thinking about becoming French president, "not only when I am shaving in the morning."
Today, Mr Sarkozy's enemies on the left mockingly call him an American neo-con, who just happens to have a French passport, or deride him as a short, power-hungry man with a Napoleon complex.
His supporters, however, claim with fervour that he is the only man who can save France from its economic and social ills.
What is clear is that the former interior minister - known for his tough stance on crime and illegal immigration - is a deeply divisive figure for the French, thanks partly to his un-ministerial language in 2005.
At the time, he re-assured a woman on one housing estate that he would hose the "scum" or "racaille" from the streets, and helped set France alight during the riots.
Good for Sarkozy! Salute!
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