French President, Nicolas Sarkozy has conceded defeat in French presidential election, opening the way for Francois Hollande to be the new leader. Socialist party candidate Francois Hollande defeated President Sarkozy with 52 percent votes against about 48 percent for Sarkozy, according to estimates by pollsters CSA and Harris Interactive, Reuters report.
According to reuters, Nicolas Sarkozy’s defeat in the French presidential election makes him the ninth European leader to be booted out since the region’s debt crisis began and the second French president to lose a re-election bid since World War II after former President Valery Giscard d’Estaing was vanquished in 1981.
Bloomberg reports that at the start of his term, Sarkozy, an outsider with immigrant roots, was France’s most popular leader since General Charles de Gaulle, World War II hero and founder of the Fifth Republic, but by the time he announced his re-election bid in February, he was the most unpopular incumbent French president since the war and was counting on his stewardship of the debt crisis to deliver a second term.
“With joblessness at a 12-year high and public debt at a record, the electorate proved unwilling to forgive the 57-year- old lawyer for foibles such as celebrating his 2007 victory at a chic Paris restaurant and a holiday on a billionaire’s yacht, making the election an anti-Sarkozy vote.” Bloomberg said
Conceding defeat in a farewell speech to hundreds of cheering supporters, Sarkozy said “I want to thank the millions of French people who have voted for me, but I have not succeeded in convincing all of the French people,”
“It was an immense privilege to be the President of France,” Mr Sarkozy said.
“I bear full responsibility for defeat,” he said in the speech given 20 minutes after polls closed at 8pm.
“Together we have had an unbelievable campaign.” he told.
Hollande will be France’s first socialist president since Francois Mitterrand, who was leader from 1981-1995 and now have the chance to change how Europe tackles the eurozone debt crisis with more stimulus and less austerity.