Francois Hollande became the first Socialist elected president of France since Francois Mitterand in 1988. Hollande won close to 52 percent of the vote, and nearly 80 percent of eligible voters cast ballots. Hollande is seen as a political leader who will act as an “anti-austerity” counterweight to Germany in Europe’s ongoing fiscal crisis.
One of Hollande’s first acts was expected to be a Sunday night call to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was close to Nicolas Sarkozy, the man Hollande ousted. “…in that exchange lies the key to Europe’s recovery, redirecting Europe towards growth, competitiveness and protection,” Jean-Marc Ayrault, the Socialist mayor of Nantes, told France24. That outlet referred to Ayrault as a possible future prime minister.
Sarkozy was a strong supporter of U.S. President Barack Obama, who will be hoping to avoid Sarkozy’s fate at the polls – Sarkozy became the first French president to lose his bid for a second term since 1981. It is unclear where Hollande will stand in regards to the U.S. But he and Obama have at least on thing in common: neither had never held an executive position in a national government before being elected president. The two will probably meet for the first time May 18th, when the Group of 8 nations gather in Washington for economic talks.