The French press has greeted the country’s new President with headlines reflecting the divide in the electorate. After a third consecutive victory for the right wing, Les Echos declared: “A big majority for major reforms.” The left wing Liberation though called Nicholas Sarkozy “A Thatcher without petticoats”. Sarkozy won just over 53 per cent of the vote in the ballot which put him in the Elysee palace, amid accusations from the left that he will prove divisive and dangerous.
This pro-Sarkozy voter said: “It’s a very good result for France. This person who’s been elected is the one who best reflects the will of the people, for a better economic future for this country.” This supporter said: “We are very happy. We are mobilised. We founght for months, and now we are reaping the reward. He is elected, and we are happy.” This woman said: “It is an eagerly awaited result. This is what the people wanted. The result wasn’t a surprise.”
But not everyone was rejoicing. This man said: “I am very disappointed because I am originally from Africa. I have French nationality and I have always voted for the left. So I am disappointed with the result. I voted for Segolene.” This young woman said: “People don’t know what they’re going to do, they’ll be out on the streets. No one will have houses anymore, nobody will be able to tolerate someone like him”
No small proportion of the Sarkozy camp gathered at the Place de la Concorde in Paris, joining him, his family and his colleagues in the celebrations. “I will give everyone chances,” he said, “but in my view of the Republic, you cannot have rights without responsibilities.”
Sarkozy is expected to take some time off now after the rigours of the campaign trail. He’s due to take office on May the 16th or 17th, just in time to start campaigning for the parliamentary elections in June.