Hollande, Sarkozy show rare unity

2012-05-08 17:16

Paris -  France's president-elect Francois Hollande stood shoulder to shoulder with ousted opponent Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday, showing a united front after months of bitter rivalry as they marked the end of World War II.

Hollande beat Sarkozy, the conservative incumbent, in Sunday's runoff election to become the country's first Socialist president in 17 years, putting an end to a bruising election campaign.

In a ceremony at Paris' Arc de Triomphe, however, the two men stood side by side in silence laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to commemorate Victory in Europe Day and the surrender of Nazi forces on 8 May 1945.

The ceremony took place just days after voters in Greece, battered by years of austerity, voted an extreme-right party into parliament in a general election for the first time since the end of a military dictatorship in 1974.

"The French have voted and both presidents ... had to be here to pay homage to all those who laid down their lives for the country," Hollande told reporters.

"We faced each other in an election but it was our duty to be here at this ceremony. France's citizens should feel proud that the Republic is united," he said.

Hollande, the self-styled "Mr Normal", sought throughout his campaign to brand himself as a man capable of uniting France after what his supporters said was a divisive five-year term by Sarkozy.

After a campaign dominated by anger over the economic crisis and Sarkozy's unpopular presidential style and perceived pandering to the rich, Hollande swept to victory on Sunday vowing to fight for equality and justice.

Thank you Sarkozy

Hundreds of people took advantage of the public holiday and turned up at the Arc de Triomphe to watch the ceremony and pay their respects to Sarkozy in one of his last official acts.

Some held up banners saying "Thank You Sarkozy", others shouted words of support for the conservative, who has said he might quit politics in the wake of his defeat.

"He did a lot for France. It's easy to make promises to please everybody but France is in crisis and he had the courage to stand up and say what everyone was thinking," a spectator called Angelique said, speaking of Sarkozy.

Hollande will be sworn in as president on 15 May. His post-victory honeymoon is expected to be short-lived, with financial markets eager for clear signals on his policies and how hard he plans to push back German-led austerity.

His inauguration ceremony will be followed by a trip to Berlin next week, on 16 or 17 May, to discuss incorporating pro-growth clauses into the European fiscal compact with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Merkel had publicly backed Sarkozy's campaign, and, in a sign of the tough negotiations Hollande faces, the German chancellor on Monday rejected the notion that Europe was on the brink of a policy shift. Her close allies have said they expect Hollande to have to make the lion's share of the concessions.

Read more on:    francois hollande  |  angela merkel  |  nicolas sarkozy  |  france
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
6 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Travel
 

LOL treadmill fail!

Watch this hilarious clip! We think this man should rather be running outside this summer!

 
 

I love summer.24

Google’s top searches of 2014
10 of the strangest Christmas traditions around the world
2014's best drone videos
7 drinks you need to make this party season

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

15% off LEGO

Save 15% when you buy 2 or more Lego toys. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Any chance to explore the distant shores of things yet to be found will fascinate you. The challenge is dealing with the issues...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.