Socialist candidate Francois Hollande was elected president of France on Sunday. He defeated conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy with 51 percent of the vote, following a bitter campaign that focused primary on the country's economic woes.
Sarkozy condeded defeat shortly after the polls closed, wishing Hollande "good luck" in his new position.
He was the first French president in over three decades to lose a reelection bid and, according to surveys, the most unpopular president ever to run for reelection.
Hollande will be the country's first left-wing president since 1995.
The question now is what implications Hollande's victory will have for the economic future of Europe as a whole. To date, the eurozone's response to its financial problems (to curb spending and promote austerity) has been largely orchestrated by a French-German partnership built on the close personal relationship between President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Hollande has said that, as president, he plans to challenge Chancellor Merkel and renegotiate the European Union fiscal treaty [NY Times link], placing more of an emphasis on growth rather than cutbacks.
Of course, the big news is that this very chic lady will no longer be the First Lady of France.