French polls close, Hollande ahead

2012-05-06 20:26
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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 - Polling stations closed across France on Sunday for the final round of a presidential election that estimations said gave victory to Socialist challenger Francois Hollande over incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy.

Hollande was elected France's first Socialist president in nearly two decades, dealing a humiliating defeat to Sarkozy and shaking up European politics, according to several estimates based on ballot samples.

The estimates said Hollande took between 51.8% and 52%.

The result will have major implications for Europe as it struggles to emerge from a financial crisis and for France, the eurozone's second-largest economy and a nuclear-armed permanent member of the UN Security Council.

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