A president for all – Nicolas Sarkozy’s promise to the people of France. The conservative candidate is estimated to have won 53% of the vote, compared with 47% for socialist Segolene Royal. At the UMP party headquarters in Paris, thousands of his supporters burst into applause and wild cheering as their man came out to give his victory speech.
Sarkozy has promised to try to reform France to face the challenges of the 21st century, putting the nation back to work at the top of his agenda. But his first few words were for Segolene Royal. The newly elected head of state pledged to unify the country and urged supporters of his defeated rival and all first round candidates to now rally behind him.
“Respecting Madame Royal means respecting all the people who voted for her. My thoughts go out to all the people who didn’t vote for me. But for me tonight, there’s only one victory and that’s a victory for France and our common ideals,” he said.
He went on to call on France’s European partners to heed the voice of those who want more protection and pledged his European credentials saying he believes deeply in Europe’s construction.
Sarkozy also reached out a hand of friendship to the United States, saying even the best of friends disagree sometimes, but he warned Washington not to obstruct the fight against global warming, adding that France will make it its top priority.
He spoke of creating a Meditereanean Union – as a sort of bridge between the EU and Africa to promote peace and civilisation. And he launched what he called a brotherly appeal to Africa saying it could count on France’s help to overcome war, hatred, famine and poverty.
Sarkozy is expected to take office on May 16 or 17, and will be the first French president to be born after World War Two.
He will then name a new government and immediately launch into campaigning for June’s parliamentary election, where he will seek a clear majority to implement his reform plans.