The French election results are in and the winner is Socialist leader Francois Hollande, who beat incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy with 51.62 percent of the vote in Sunday’s runoff election.
Sarkozy wasn’t far behind with 48.38 percent, as French voters expressed displeasure with Sarkozy’s austerity plan budget cuts at the voting booth despite the perception that Sarkozy was as a stronger leader.
Hollande’s victory makes Sarkozy the only French president since 1981 to not win a second term. Financial markets in Europe were flat after the news of the election results, which cast an uncertain pall over other European nations struggling with a wide-ranging international debt crisis.
What lessons can the U.S. learn from the race between socialist Hollande and conservative Sarkozy? How will Hollande’s presidency affect the perception of France on the world stage?
Sophie Meunier, research scholar, Public and International Affairs, Princeton University; author, "Trading Voices: The European Union in International Commercial Negotiations" (Princeton University Press, 2005); co-author of "The French Challenge: Adapting to Globalization"