Paris: French President-elect Francois Hollande said on Sunday night he felt proud of bringing hope to France and that change will start from now.
In an address to his supporters after the Presidential Election victory, Hollande said his first mission upon his inauguration would be uniting the French people, facing all challenges and getting the country out of crisis, Xinhua reported.
"I feel proud of bringing hope to the country," he said to thousands of his supporters in Tulle city, where he served as mayor from 2001 to 2008.
Outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy admitted his defeat, and said he had wished Hollande "good luck" in a phone call.
Hollande beat Sarkozy in a tight run-off election to win the presidency with 51.9 percent of the vote to Sarkozy's 48.1 percent, the website of France 24 TV channel reported citing the Ipsos polling institute.
Hollande’s win heralds a change in how Europe tackles its debt crisis and how France flexes its military and diplomatic muscle around the world.
Exuberant crowds filled the Place de la Bastille, the iconic plaza of the French Revolution, to celebrate Hollande's victory. He will be France's first leftist chief of state since Francois Mitterrand was president from 1981 to 1995.
Sarkozy thanked his supporters and said he did his best to win a second term, despite widespread anger at his handling of the economy.
"I take responsibility ... For the defeat," he said. Hollande's former partner and mother of his four children, Segolene Royal, said she has a "feeling of profound joy to see millions and millions of French renew the tie to the left”.
"The French can be confident," she said on France-2 television. "We will need everyone to help the country recover." Royal faced off Sarkozy in the 2007 election.
(With Agencies’ inputs)
First Published: Monday, May 07, 2012, 09:11