07/05/2007 - Results - 2nd round
The candidate for the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), Nicolas Sarkozy was elected President of the Republic of France on 6th May easily beating his rival Ségolène Royal (Socialist Party PS) by taking 53.06% of the vote versus 46.94% for his adversary. The new Head of State forged ahead in the East and North of France (apart from Pas-de-Calais) as well as in the 'territories' abroad (TOM), whilst Ségolène Royal achieved her best results in the West of France, notably in the South-West and in the 'départements' abroad (DOM). Nicolas Sarkozy won in 67 'départements' in mainland France, Ségolène Royal won in 28 of them.
The participation rate was one of the highest ever recorded in the V Republic, rising to 83.97%. The high participation rate in the second round confirms the democratic revolution that was observed in the first round on 22nd April.
"Tonight my thoughts go to the millions of French men and women who showed they trusted me. I would like to say that they have done me the greatest honour by being confident that I am worthy of governing France," declared Nicolas Sarkozy on the announcement of the results. Nicolas Sarkozy immediately addressed all of the French and probably first and foremost those who did not vote for him. "My thoughts go to all of the French who did not vote for me. I would like to say to them that beyond the political battle, beyond the political differences to my mind there is only one France. I should like to say that I will be a President for all of the French, that I shall represent every one of them. Tonight I should like to say that there is no victory of one France over another. For me tonight there is just one victory, that of democracy, that of the values which bring us all together, that of the ideal that brings us together. My priority will be to do everything possible so that the French want to speak to each other always, to understand each other and to work together," maintained Mr Sarkozy who has often been accused of making the French fight amongst one another; this time he wanted to come through as a unifier. Reviewing his campaign programme he repeated: "The French population has given its verdict. It has chosen to break away from the ideas, habits and behaviour of the past. I would like to put work, authority, moral values, respect and merit back into their rightful place. I want to bring honour back to the nation and national identity. I want to make the French proud of being French again. I want to do away with repentance which is a type of self-hate along with the conflicts of the past which only feed the hate of others. I shall make these changes happen because this is the mandate I have received from the population and because France needs this. But I shall do this with all of the French. I shall do it in the spirit of union and fraternity. I shall do it so that no one has the feeling they are being shut out and left to their own devices." Finally Nicolas Sarkozy addressed France's European partners. "I would like to launch an appeal to our European partners with whom our future is linked, to say that all of my life I have been a European, that I believe in the construction of Europe and this evening France has made its comeback into the fold of Europe. But I plead with them to listen to those who want to be protected. I plead with them not to ignore the anger of those who see the European Union not as a protective shield but rather as a Trojan Horse for all the threats that inherent to the changes occurring in the world, " he declared repeating the requests for protection with regard to the European Union that he had given voice to over the last few months. "I shall not betray you, I shall not lie to you and I shall not disappoint you," he said to those who gathered at the Place de la Concorde to celebrate his victory.
Nicolas Sarkozy, 52, is a lawyer. Committing himself to politics in 1974 with the Union of Democrats for the Republic (UDR) he then became the area delegate for the young section of his party for the Hauts-de-Seine in 1975 before joining the Assembly for the Republic (RPR) founded by Jacques Chirac, in 1976. He won the local elections in Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1983 to become mayor and became a member of the National Assembly in 1988; after that he became Minister for the Budget (1993-1995) in Edouard Balladur's (RPR) government. He gave his support to the latter in the presidential election of 1995 but he was not given a ministerial post in the governments led by Alain Juppé (1995-1997) after the election of Jacques Chirac as Head of State. Interim President of the Assembly of the Republic from April to October 1999 he then withdrew from political life for some time. In 2002 he was re-elected MP and appointed Minister of the Interior, Security and Local Freedom (2002-2004) under the governments led by Jean-Pierre Raffarin (UMP) and finally he was Minister of the Interior and Urban Development (2005-2007) in the government led by Dominique de Villepin (UMP). Since November 2004 he chaired the UMP.
In the end both candidates in the second round of the presidential election made the same diagnosis of France as it is today pointing to a serious crisis in society and the need for reform that would break away from traditional models. Nicolas Sarkozy undoubtedly seemed better prepared and more coherent during the entire electoral campaign to the point of embodying the change which France needs.
The new President will rapidly have to turn his attention to a great number of urgent matters. With regard to industry he will have to decide the future of the merger between Suez-GDF, a project that has been on hold for the last few months, as well as a plan to restructure Airbus which includes plans to lay off over 10,000 people. Although the Conference on the Family is due to be held in the summer Nicolas Sarkozy indicated during his campaign that he wanted to convene other conferences with social partners, notably with regard to socio-economic issues. On 7th May Xavier Bertrand, one of the UMP candidate's spokespeople drew up a list of the first measures the new president wanted to see adopted by the summer. These involve tax exoneration on overtime, the deduction of interest on housing loans, the abolition of inheritance tax, tax exemption for students' jobs, minimum prison sentences for repeat offenders and negotiations to secure a minimum service during strikes in public transport.
Internationally the President of the Republic will have to act quickly to take care of the situation of the French hostage a member of the NGO, "Terres d'Enfance" held in Afghanistan for the last few weeks and whose kidnappers granted another reprieve to France during the presidential election. Much is also expected of Nicolas Sarkozy on 21st and 22nd June in Brussels during the European Council. He will also have to travel to several European capitals in the near future including Brussels and Berlin.
Ségolène Royal's reaction to her defeat was also one of the events of the second round. Indeed the defeated Socialist candidate did not appear to be downcast. "Universal suffrage has spoken. I hope the next President of the Republic will accomplish his mission for all the French," she declared just minutes after the announcement of the first results. After acknowledging her defeat she immediately added," I gave my all in this electoral campaign. Something has started now that cannot be stopped. I shall continue with you and by your side. What we have started for France will bear fruit of that I am sure. You can count on me to accentuate the renaissance of the left and the quest for new convergence beyond its present frontiers. This is the condition for our future victories. I am counting on you, remain steadfast and together we shall continue the fight. I shall be there to accomplish this vital work and I shall take on the responsibilities which are now mine," maintaining her desire to continue the fight with the general elections on 10th and 17th June on the horizon and also beyond that date; she also repeated her ambition to continue her renovation of the left by widening its scope beyond its present definition. During the evening Ségolène Royal again addressed the people who rallied in rue de Solférino, Paris (the HQ of the Socialist Party). "Our values will win through in the end. I am counting on you, let us remain steadfast! Together, we shall continue this movement this extraordinary campaign."
The Socialist candidate showed that she was full of energy and the spirit of combat indicating clearly that she felt ready and legitimate enough to ensure the leadership of the Socialist Party and to lead the campaign for the general elections in June. There was an immediate response on the part of some PS leaders. Dominique Strauss-Kahnn, the unfortunate candidate in the primary internal election which last November settled which of the Socialists would stand in the presidential race, deplored an "extremely serious defeat" said that he was "available" to put "bring about a renaissance of Social Democracy" within the PS. François Holland, the first secretary of the party called for the left to rally together. "Undoubtedly decisions have to be taken but I shall not tolerate any debt settling. There is a challenge to rise to," he declared adding, "Ségolène Royal has taken strength that will be useful to the left." On 4th May last he maintained in an interview with the daily "Les Echos" that he would lead his party's electoral campaign for the general elections and mentioned "conferences" or a "refounding" with all the "progressives". "The renaissance of the Socialist Pary is a necessity. Straight after the general elections we shall have to renew the PS, bring it into line with society and turn it into a modern social-democratic party" concluded François Rebsamen one of a Ségolène Royal's campaign directors stressing that "it should have been started much earlier." The National Bureau of the PS met in the evening of 7th May.
The campaign led by Ségolène Royal has placed the Socialist Party against the wall. Over the last few months the candidate broke with a number of taboos notably with regard to work, the 35 hour week, special retirement regimes, school catchment areas, authority and even security. Since the traditional allies of the PS, the Communist Party (PCF) and the Greens were obliterated during the vote on 22nd April, the PS is now obliged to turn to new partners. By daring to approach François Bayrou, Ségolène Royal marked the end of an historic era, that of the Socialist Party that was born of the Epinay Congress in 1971 and the union of the left thereby opening a way for a mutation by the party towards European social democracy. For how much longer will the Socialist Party be able to avoid confronting the issue of its renaissance and therefore its future which has been looming for several years and which has now become unavoidable in the wake of the defeat in this presidential election?
After several days of rest Nicolas Sarkozy will have to work on forming his future government. His closest colleagues have said that the next government will include ministers from the Centre and the Left. This joint government comprising 15 members will be temporary since the French electorate will be called to vote again on 10th and 17th June to renew the 577 members of the National Assembly, the lower house in Parliament.
The next President of the Republic will officially take office on 16th May next, the last day of the term of office of the present Head of State, Jacques Chirac.
Results of the Second Round of the Presidential Election on 6th May 2007
Participation rate: 83.97%
Source : Interior, Urban Development Ministry