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Meet the new French President

May 7, 2007
France voted against having its first-ever woman President.

On Sunday, Conservative leader Nicolas Sarkozy became the new French President-elect, defeating his Socialist rival Segolene Royal.

Sarkozy, 52, will replace 74-year-old President Jacques Chirac. Incidentally, Sarkozy is a Chirac protege, but the two men parted ways after Sarkozy backed a rival against Chirac in the 1995 Presidential election.

'Sarko' received 53.06 per cent votes while Royal won 46.94 per cent, according to the final results released early Monday.

'The people of France have chosen change. France is back in Europe,' a jubilant Sarkozy told his supporters after the results were announced.

'I have seen victories before in my career,' he added. 'But victory is only beautiful if it is generous. Victory is not vengeance -- it is being open in spirit. Victory only has meaning if it is victory for the country in its entirety.

'Millions of French are watching us,' he continued. 'Millions of French have placed their trust in us. You must understand that the first people I wish to address are those who did not place their trust in us. I want them to understand that I will be a President of the republic for all the French without exception.'
Image: Nicolas Sarkozy, France's President-elect, in Paris on Sunday, May 6, after the announcement of the first unofficial results

Text: Rediff Features Desk
Photograph: Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

Also see: Battle royale in France

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