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It happened

  • May 8th, 2007
  • Posted by 7thmin

voting-decision-valence.jpgNicolas Sarkhozy’s election as President of France fulfilled expectations set by opinion polls, providing a victory margin of 53-47%.

Mr Sarkhozy from the conservative party, the UMP, defeated his Socialist Party rival Segolene Royal in a huge turn-out of voters, over 84%, the highest in this voluntary voting system since the days of General de Gaulle.

That fact was saluted by the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, who congratulated Mr Sarkhozy on his victory; Mme Royal on the tenacity of her election campaign, and the French republic:

De cette élection je voudrais saluer le formidable élan démocratique du peuple Français qui s’est porté massivement aux urnes“. (Congratulations to the French people on their democratic spirit carried through in their massive attendance at the voting).

Points:

Mr Sarkhozy on election night spoke of becoming a unity president, for “all of the French”, though pointing out he had obtained a “mandate for change”, where there would be “work and opportunity for all”. Changes he speaks of are expected to involve an attack on “rigidities” in the labour market like the statutory 35-hour week.

Perhaps reflecting an expected warming towards the United States, a group of American singers, presented with the microphone as the President-elect appeared at the big election night party in place de la Concorde, belted out “Happy Days”.

Ms Royal spoke immediately after the first announcement of the results, telling supporters to “stay confident and keep mobilised”, vowing also to “remain with you”.

Other leaders of the Socialist Party applauded her efforts though some foreshadowed a shake-up that might deny the erstwhile candidate such a leading role.

Small groups of disaffected youth in centres across the country, including the place de la Bastille in Paris, demonstrated their objections to Mr Sarkhozy and his election, getting into clashes with police and here and there over-turning cars.

Mr Sarkhozy is to formally take office during the afternoon of Wednesday week (16.5.07).

The next step in the French political calendar will be the legislative elections in June.

Picture: Decision time; polling station at Valence, central France, 6.5.07

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