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Article posted May 06 2012, 5:57 PM Category: Economy Source: Bloomberg Print

France: Hollande Defeats Sarkozy in Shift of Power to Socialists

By Helene Fouquet

From one socialist to another! - ChrisFrancois Hollande defeated French President Nicolas Sarkozy as voters handed control of the second-biggest European economy to the Socialists for the first time in 17 years.

The 57-year-old Hollande got about 52 percent against about 48 percent for Sarkozy, according to estimates by four pollsters. The campaign isnít over. France elects its lower house of parliament in five weeks, prompting calls from backers of both candidates to keep fighting.

The challenger inherits an economy that is barely growing, with jobless claims at their highest in 12 years and a rising debt load that makes France vulnerable to the financial crisis that has rocked the euro region the past two years. Sarkozy became the ninth euro leader to fall in that time and the first French president in 30 years to fail to win re-election.

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