Hollande, the next French president (Lead)May 7th, 2012 - 5:00 pm ICT by IANS
Paris, May 7 (IANS) Socialist Party leader Francois Hollande defeated incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy in Sunday’s decisive presidential runoff in France and will now become president though he has never held a government post at the national level.
Hollande will be the second left-wing president, after Francois Mitterrand, founder of the French Socialist Party, served two seven-year terms as president from 1981.
He is regarded by many as an affable moderate whose quiet - some even say dull - manner contrasts sharply with the intensity and glamour of conservative president Sarkozy, BBC reported.
The president-elect, born August 12, 1954 in northern France, has a shining education background. He was mayor of Tulle in central France from 2001 to 2008, as well as a member of parliament, Xinhua reported.
However, Hollande has never held a government post at the national level, which bothered some French voters and cast doubts over his ability to lead the country out of its economic crisis.
Bespectacled and with a scholarly air, Hollande has successfully portrayed himself as a “normal president” as opposed to hyperactive Sarkozy, taking advantage of public’s disappointment with the incumbent president.
In his campaign for president, Hollande pledged to fight record high unemployment, including hiring 60,000 more teachers in his term in addition to creating 150,000 state-aided jobs.
Hollande opposed a financial policy solely based on austerity, and planned to open negotiations on the European fiscal pact reached last December by adding new clauses focusing on economic growth and job creation.
He pledged to reach a zero budget gap in 2017 and urged the establishment of a European rating agency.
The Socialist also proposed a 75-percent tax rate on those who earn over 1 million euros ($1.3 million) a year, and an increase in the minimum wage.
On foreign policy, Hollande said he would pull out French combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year, and would only intervene in foreign countries under the UN mandate in the future.
After beating Sarkozy in the first round of the 2012 French presidential election with more than 28.6 percent of the vote, Hollande took the people by surprise in the only TV debate against the incumbent for being unusually argumentative and aggressive, revealing more strength and potential than just being “quiet” and “unflappable”.
Hollande has four children with Segolene Royal, who failed to challenge Sarkozy in the 2007 election. His life companion now is Valerie Trierweiler, 47, a French journalist.
- Francois Hollande: The next president of France - May 07, 2012
- Francois Hollande sworn in as French president - May 15, 2012
- France votes in crucial presidential run-off - May 06, 2012
- Millions of French vote to decide Sarkozy's fate (Third Lead) - Apr 22, 2012
- France votes as Sarkozy's fate hangs in balance (Second Lead) - Apr 22, 2012
- Hollande gives Sarkozy a run for his money (Second Lead) - Apr 23, 2012
- French presidential election starts (Lead) - Apr 22, 2012
- Sarkozy challenges Hollande to public debates - Apr 23, 2012
- Hollande vows to bring change - May 07, 2012
- Hollande beats Sarkozy in French presidential polls (Lead) - May 07, 2012
- Sarkozy pledges budget surplus if re-elected - Apr 06, 2012
- France votes to choose Sarkozy or Hollande (Lead) - May 06, 2012
- Sarkozy to quit politics if he loses election - Mar 09, 2012
- Sarkozy concedes defeat, wishes Hollande good luck - May 07, 2012
- Hollande wins first round of France poll (Lead) - Apr 23, 2012
Tags: austerity, budget gap, cast doubts, central france, combat troops, conservative president, education background, francois hollande, francois mitterrand, french president, french socialist party, french voters, government post, incumbent president, member of parliament, nicolas sarkozy, northern france, president nicolas sarkozy, presidential runoff, zero budget