Posted: Sun May 6, 2012 9:15 pm
INTERNATIONAL. Socialist Francois Hollande swept to victory in France's presidential election on Sunday in a swing to the left at the heart of Europe that could start a pushback against German-led austerity.
Hollande was set to beat conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy by a decisive 51.9% to 48.1% margin, the TNS-Sofres polling agency said in a projection based on a partial vote count.
The president conceded defeat within 20 minutes of the last polls closing at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT), telling supporters he had telephoned Hollande to wish him good luck.
"I have just spoken to him on the telephone to wish him good luck," Sarkozy said,
Sarkozy told his supporters that he took responsibility for his defeat, saying: "It's the number one who takes responsibility." "I bear the full responsibility for this defeat," he said.
Sarkozy, punished for his failure to rein in record 10 percent unemployment and for his brash personal style, is the 11th successive leader in the euro zone to be swept from power since the currency bloc's debt crisis began in 2009.
Jubilant left-wingers celebrated outside Socialist Party headquarters and in Paris' Bastille square, where revelers danced in 1981 when Francois Mitterrand became France's only other Socialist president.
Congratulations to Mr. Hollande - Prathap G., Sharjah