Socialist Francois Hollande wins French presidency

Associated Press
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Outgoing French President Nicolas Sarkozy leaves after addressing supporters at his Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party headquarters after the the preliminary results of the second round of the presidential elections were announced in Paris Sunday May 6, 2012. Socialist Francois Hollande defeated Sarkozy on Sunday to become France's next president, heralding a change in how Europe tackles its debt crisis and how France flexes its military and diplomatic muscle around the world. Sarkozy conceded defeat minutes after the polls closed, saying he had called Hollande to wish him "good luck" as the country's new leader. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

PARIS (AP) — Socialist Francois Hollande has declared victory in France's presidential election, railing against austerity measures and urging national unity after a bitter campaign against Nicolas Sarkozy.

The mild-mannered Hollande promised help for France's downtrodden after years under the tough-talking Sarkozy, a man many voters blamed for economic troubles.

Hollande says austerity should no longer be inevitable and said European partners should be relieved and not frightened by his presidency.

Hollande told huge crowds of supporters in his electoral fiefdom of Tulle in central France on Sunday that he was "proud to have been capable of giving people hope again. We will succeed!"