Francois Hollande has been officially sworn-in as France’s new president, during a ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris. He is the first socialist to take the reigns in 17 years.
Hollande swept to victory in the recent election run-off, beating conservative Nicolas Sarkozy.
After meeting Hollande at the palace, Sarkozy took to the steps for the final time with his wife Carla – leaving behind him the presidency and politics altogether.
The official results of the election were read out during the inauguration, before Hollande was presented with the gold chain of the Legion d’Honneur – France’s highest order of merit.
The socialist – dubbed “Mr Normal” – wanted the ceremony to be less lavish than traditional proceedings. His image contrasts with predecessor Sarkozy.
Hollande focused on unity during his inaugural speech.
“The country needs healing, reconciliation, bringing together,” he said.
“This is the role of the president, to contribute. For all of the French to live together.”
The socialist is naming his prime minister today, tipped to be the deputy mayor of Nantes Jean Marc-Ayrault.
Fresh from the ceremony at the Elysee Palace, Hollande took to the streets for a victory parade.
However, there will be little time for him to enjoy the celebrations. He is taking over amid renewed fears in the eurozone, stoked by the political turmoil in Greece.
Hollande is setting off today for Berlin, to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel – as part of his push for more emphasis on growth to solve Europe’s debt problems.
Later in the week, the new president will travel to the US to attend G8 and NATO summits.