French media salute 'Francois II'

2012-05-07 14:00
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France presidential elections

Socialist Francois Hollande defeated conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy to become France's next president. See all the latest pics.

Paris - French media on Monday saluted Francois Hollande's election as president, with left-wing newspapers unabashedly cheering the end of the Nicolas Sarkozy era.

"At last," said an editorial in the left-leaning Liberation daily, heralding the arrival of a Socialist in the Elysee Palace for the first time since Francois Mitterand held office 17 years ago.

"The joy. The immense joy. Of seeing a chapter close, a curse lifted," the paper, which was fiercely critical of Sarkozy, rejoiced.

"Free at last!" the left-leaning Mediapart news site trumpeted, underneath a photo of Sarkozy, head bowed, walking past a French flag.

"Hollande president, ciao Sarko!" Rue89 news site cheered, while Direct Matin hailed the ascension to power of "Francois II".

While the tone was triumphant, there was consensus among French commentators that the task ahead for Hollande was daunting.

Kind judgement

"The work has just begun and it will be tough, as of tomorrow," wrote Liberation, which listed the following as top priorities: "Repair the country of course. Remake society, obviously. Reduce the inequality in the destinies of the French, no matter who they are and where they come from."

The conservative Figaro daily, which vigorously supported Sarkozy, said history would judge the outgoing president kindly while acknowledging "the expression of the majority wish".

For the paper, the challenge ahead for Hollande was two-fold: "Continue to shore up the public accounts and restore growth."

On that score, the paper had some advice for the president-elect.

"Nothing is possible without a European agreement. To reach that, the best thing would be to abandon the strange idea of renegotiating the stability pact and accepting an add-on on growth. That would avoid the risk of a new European crisis."

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