**Written by Doug Powers
We’ve been a little preoccupied talking about the upcoming face-off in the U.S., but there are other elections going on around the world. One of them is in France, where Nicolas Sarkozy has been voted out of office in favor of a Socialist Party candidate:
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has conceded defeat in France’s presidential elections, saying he called challenger Francois Hollande to wish him “good luck” as the country’s new leader.
Sarkozy thanked his supporters Sunday and said he did his best to win a second term, despite widespread anger at his handling of the economy.
He said “I take responsibility … for the defeat.”
Sarkozy faced voters’ anger over austerity Sunday in a presidential run-off expected to replace him with Socialist rival Francois Hollande, with far-reaching consequences for efforts to fight Europe’s debt crisis.
Hollande will be the first Socialist Party president of France since Francois Mitterrand was elected in 1981, and Sarkozy is France’s first one-term president since Valery Giscard d’Estaing was voted out, losing to Mitterrand.
Hollande has promised more government spending and higher taxes — including a 75-percent income tax on the rich — and wants to re-negotiate a European treaty on trimming budgets to avoid more debt crises of the kind facing Greece. That would complicate relations with Germany’s Angela Merkel, who championed the treaty alongside Sarkozy.
Hollande also pledged to lower the retirement age from 62 to 60 (which Sarkozy had raised from 60 to 62) and to add 60,000 employees to France’s public education system. And yet the budget, according to another of Hollande’s campaign promises, will be balanced by 2017.
What’s French for “good luck with that”?
Update: Ben Brogan at the UK Telegraph: French Socialists’ joy of election victory will be shortlived
Update II: By way of Twitchy, for some reason, this sounds very familiar:
Francois Hollande says the people of France have “chosen change” by electing him President
— Sky News Newsdesk (@SkyNewsBreak) May 6, 2012
Update III: “The Dictator” congratulates Francois “Hollandaise” on his victory.
Update IV: Rocketman pointed this out in the comments: Are France’s wealthy packing up their Château Lafite Rothschild for a move across the Channel? It would only make sense.
Update Cinq (let’s start doing the numbers in French now, what the heck): Not surprisingly, a friendly working relationship may already be developing:
WH says Pres Obama said he looks forward to working closely with Hollande & his govt “on a range of shared economic & security challenges.”
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) May 6, 2012
**Written by Doug Powers
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