Francois Hollande has taken a huge step towards ending the French Socialist Party’s 17-year stint in opposition. But the game isn’t over yet.
In his speech he said: “This first round is a sanction on the five-year mandate that is ending and a rejection for the outgoing candidate whose discourse over the last months has played into the hands of the extreme right, because that is an element that must not be overlooked tonight. The National Front has never achieved such a high score in a presidential election before, even in 2002 when they qualified for the second round. Tonight, through the vote of the French, I have become the candidate of all those who want to close one chapter and open another.
In his entire speech, he never once mentioned President Sarkozy by name. “I am the candidate of unity, of change. This unity must be as broad as possible. It concerns firstly the left and the environmentalists whom I now represent. I am also the candidate for uniting all citizens attached to an exemplary Republic, concerned about the impartiality of the state, a candidate for all French who want the general interest to take precedence over privilege. Finally, I am watched from beyond the borders of our country, my last responsibility is to re-orientate Europe onto the path of growth and employment.”