What Hollande's Victory Means for France
President-elect has a packed first 40 days
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2012 7:36 AM CDT
Updated May 7, 2012 7:48 AM CDT
Francois Hollande waves from his balcony on May 7, 2012 in Paris, one day after the announcement of the first official results of the French presidential second round.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Following last night’s victory over Nicolas Sarkozy, Francois Hollande will have to jump right in to his new role—he will be sworn in as France’s president next Tuesday, the BBC notes. What does his election mean?

  • Hollande has vowed to renegotiate the eurozone budget treaty Sarkozy championed along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but the German government today is trying to cut that off at the pass, calling it “not possible.”
  • Though Hollande's election has fueled hope among many French hungry for jobs, economic growth, and the end of austerity, he faces the same debt problems Sarkozy did. Der Spiegel notes that Hollande knows just how tough is the job ahead of him: Rather than appearing celebratory last night, the unsmiling victor “seemed tired, weak, and overwhelmed,” the paper reports.

  • One of his largest tasks will be to forge a relationship with Merkel, whose ideas about austerity he has railed against. He could meet with her as soon as the very day of his inauguration. From there, his schedule is packed: the G-8 summit, the NATO summit, campaigning for June’s parliamentary elections and, if the Socialists win a majority, choosing a prime minister.
  • This could be one of the most significant shifts in Europe since the economic crisis began, the New York Times notes, but the analysts expect the markets to give France a “grace period” to see if Hollande can increase investor confidence.
  • The AP looks back on Sarkozy’s unconventional presidency, charting his downfall since his first day in 2007 when he jogged up the steps of the presidential palace in shorts. Ultimately, he came to be seen as self-centered and too showy—not to mention unable to deliver on his campaign promises.
  • Many are cheering his defeat, al-Jazeera reports from Bastille Square, where throngs celebrated by chanting, “Sarkozy, it’s over.”