Paris: Socialist Francois Hollande was crowned the new President of France when he defeated Nicholas Sarkozy in Presidential runoff on Sunday making way for a major change in the way eurozone crisis would be handled.
According to early estimates, Hollande garnered 52% votes while Sarkozy was lagging behind with 48% votes.
Riding on an anti-Sarkozy wave, triggered by high unemployment, steep wage cuts and spending cuts, Hollande made his path to victory clearer by promising some anti-austerity actions.
Nicholas Sarkozy, who was punished by the voters equally because of his inability to rein in the high unemployment rate and handle the debt crisis as well as due to his brash lifestyle, conceded to Hollande within 20 minutes of polls coming to close.
Admitting his defeat, a crest-fallen Sarkozy said, " I claim all the responsibilty for failure".
To an emotional crowd shouting Nicholas Nicholas, Sarkozy said that the French people had made their choice and that decision must be respected. He said that "France has a new President" and "a new era" had ushered in.
Sarkozy said he spoke to Hollande and wished him good luck.
Sarkozy also informed that he wouldn`t lead his party UMP in June Parliamentary elections.
The outcome of the French presidential vote could weigh heavily on talks about the European debt crisis.
Polling stations opened in mainland France at 0600 GMT on Sunday. According to French Interior Ministry, the turnout was 73.9%.
In the first round of voting on April 22, Hollande beat Sarkozy by about half a million votes.
The election results are slated to impact efforts to fight its debt crisis, how long French troops stay in Afghanistan and how France exercises its military and diplomatic muscle around the world.
Under Sarkozy, France pledged to rein in its spending while the rest of 17 countries that use the euro embark on a strict period of belt-tightening. In France, that has included programs designed to reduce government employment.
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 would be France`s first Socialist president since Francois Mitterrand who served two seven-year terms in 1981-1995.
(With Agencies` inputs)