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Francois Hollande elected president of France; Nicolas Sarkozy concedes defeat

+The Wall Street Journal reports that French voters have elected +François Hollande as president, giving the country a Socialist leader who has pledged to shift the burden of hardship to the rich and resolve the protracted euro-zone sovereign-debt crisis by softening the current prescription of austerity.

Hollande was elected with a roughly 52%-48% margin over conservative incumbent +Nicolas Sarkozy in the second and final round of the election.

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Follow updates and read background information on the French presidential election:

Photo: Francois Hollande shows his ballot earlier today. (Christophe Ena, +The Associated Press)
Siddharth Madhusudan's profile photoKirill Lebedev's profile photoDan B.'s profile photoMik M's profile photo
James May
OH NOES France is now communist! (I am assuming that is what Fox news is saying about it anyway).

I couldn't resist the jab on those that don't know the difference.
Mik M
Next get the british guy out
who is next like arabic spring it's time for western spring peace and love
Bien fait pour sa putain de gueule. Ce batard pensait que la France lui appartenait
In Greece, they are eating french toast.
Good ridance to sarkozy rubish! Hope africa will be better for this! Viva le france! Viva le afrique!
+luis Rivas yes one down one to go! Popular will shall always prevail!
Good going. The French got rid of their Conservative leader. When can we in the UK get rid of ours?. We only got rid of a few little ones on thursday.
And lets see how long it takes for France to slide into deep recession after Hollande removes the austerity measures in place. Can't wait to have to bail out another floundering economy when ours is none to healthy itself!
Or alternatively, we can watch them build infrastructure and work their way out of recession with falling unemployment - like much of the world did after the great depression. This may have been before so much money was spent trying to disprove Keynsian economics.
Euro down, dollar up, stock market down. Then, QE3.
+James Wright Didn't know that reactionary Tea Party Republikans were on Google+; shouldn't you be commenting on the Fox News website?
+Jack Seeley Hey Jack, we are all entitled to our views. More so when you actually live in the Euro Zone. And to call me a tea party republican, based, I believe on the grounds that I am British and merely that I commented on a now Socialist France!
All I am saying is how long will France continue to have the privilege of 10-year borrowing under 3 percent (the best in the EU) that they had under Sarkozy once he starts going for Germany. The market votes with its feet and I fear it will not end well.
Shocking, the socalist won. I wonder how that happend.
People are slowly waking up to the economic nightmare that (so called)conservative capitalism has created.
+Bill Schaefer It is the unfettered free market capitalism that needs to be got rid of. We have been sleepwalking into that for the last 50 years. Anywhere without universal healthcare is not somewhere I would want to live. We have rich and powerful people trying to steal it from us. The same goes for various other aspects of civilisation like social security and state pensions. I would also like the opportunity to work for my own (and my families') benefit. All these things cost money and I expect to pay more tax than someone less well off. I would also expect to pay a lower portion of my income than someone who is paid more.

I hope that this is the start of a swing back towards decency and common sense for all of us, not just the French.
+Daniel Granados That is not socialism. That is not what they voted for either. That has happened here in the UK and has nothing to do with any form of politics you will find in parliament. It is due to failings in our society, not socialism. We need to fix that for sure. We still need to fix the Welfare State.

"Real" socialism has never actually happened but some places have tried harder than others.
Do you think that was how it happened in the USSR? They have pretty high unemployment now that they have tried to adopt capitalism.
North Korea is mostly equal - everyone is dirt, except the relief. If you don't work there, what do you think happens?

The only countries I have heard of that just give you money for being citizens are places like Saudi Arabia and some Gulf States. Even if that is true, I doubt you would describe them as socialists.
He has a winning lotto ticket in his hand.He won $5.00 bucks.
The rigid ideology of Conservative economics only seems to work well when the conditions are just right. In Australia we have a centre-left government, who when the GFC was just a ripple, they borrowed heavily to pumped cash into the economy (including putting money direct into every tax-payers bank account), old style Keynsian economics, and it worked. Now that the conditions have changed they are working on cutting government spending and returning a surplus (traditional Conservative economics). Treating a national economy like a household budget does not work, because it is not a household budget.

While Sarkozy undertook some necessary reforms, it seemed at the end of the day he was so focused on just one set of ideology he couldn't change to meet the new conditions. There are some things that Mon Hollande will need to do later, but at the moment he needs to take a pragmatic approach to the economy, should be interesting times ahead to see what they come up with.
It still boggles my mind why people are so afraid of any hint of socialism in the USA
+Scott Watson - you sound like the Swiss woman who decided to fast and subsist on sunlight alone. Just when she was about succeed in her quest, she died. While you wait for "Real" socialism to be implemented, please let the rest of us live our lives, unencumbered by lure of Government cheese. Did the fall of the USSR not give us a clue that socialism is not a viable and durable proposition? I wish France all the good luck in the coming years - it will need it.
It boggles my mind that people outside France consider Hollande to be excessively left-wing.

I mean, really, the Parti Socialiste is going to make France the next Greece? With a program that is only slightly less austere than Sarkozy's, and just as efficient in terms of deficit reduction? Have you even taken a look at it?
Also, +James Wright, "going for Germany" is a gross exaggeration : the addition of a clause to promote growth in Europe is something that is supported by many in the EU, and that even Germany is warming up to.
All in all, much ado about nothing, economically. On the other hand, if you were to pay attention to Sarkozy's swing to the extreme-right and adoption of their language and propositions recently, you'd realise there are other things to worry about, and that Hollande's election is in fact a lucky thing for all of us in Europe. The rise of anti-immigrant ideology is something that we should all be fighting.
It should be obvious that socialism and communism are not entirely the same, so there's no need to argue that point.

Here's a quick comparison chart between the two that I was able to find online:

Back on point: If I'm reading it right, and the margin of victory was that small, it may be a bit tough for the country to follow the new lead. Interesting election results, and good luck to France.
+John Atti not sure it was small, perhaps some natives can comment further, but Sarkozy was swept to power on 53%, so only 2% difference.
+Sam Matsoukis The Soviet Union was a single-party state ruled by the Communist Party from its foundation until 1990.
Same wikipedia source.
Ours is a two turn election, so the margin in the second round isn't that important in determining the 'lead' ; the legislative elections in a few weeks' time that determine the composition of Parliament is what will do that.
+Sam Matsoukis Jeepers. No wonder why people are scared. Sad but people really should research more rather than just taking the name and equate to something that is not.

fyi communism was borne out of socialism and its is a much more extreme and radical form of socialism. To say the two are the same is like saying an apple is the same as a pear. No they are different.

If you don't know by now socialism has been happening in Europe and other parts of the world for a long time now. Would you consider Western Europe and Scandinavia the same as communist USSR?.

Do understand as well things are not black and white. Even with communist USSR it is different from communist China as well as communist Veitnam etc.
I used to be french at a period of my life, that country is drowning under immigration and insecurity that comes with it.
In France people don't need to work, they just need to make babies to get money from the government.
Anyway people with higher education and big wallets just flee !
So sad what is happening to my ex country... Happy to have left it !
+John Atti . Well thats what i thought as well. I thought that it is common knowledge by now the two are not the same. However on line at least i am seeing more and more people equate the 2 as the same thing which is weird.

Its like history books is being rewritten. Anyone that has been too school or even read history books should know this by know. I am not in anyway putting others down but it must be pointed out.

Now because USSR has socialist in its name must mean that communism = socialism? Madness. People need to be educated on the difference.

Now i finally understand why some poor souls are calling Obama comrade Obama lol!.

+Sam Matsoukis Dude. Don't worry. Socialism mainly looks at re balancing the power to empower the majority instead of a few which is better for everyone. It is not communism where there will be a one party state.

Socialism took root in Europe as Europe moved on from the Feudal system which empowered the nobles while the rest served. Socialism changed that and in part helped kick started the industrial revolution creating the upper and middle class (socialist). Its not bad at all. Contrast this to the French and Russian revolution and you see the difference. Russia turned to communism which is a more radical form of socialism because they wanted change fast and they got Lenin communism instead lol!. The rest of Europe though like the UK, a very good example looked at a more gradual move of power from the nobles to the rest with social focused policies to empower everyone.

My point is, socialism is not evil and is definitely != communism.
This guy is French Obama - he wants 75% tax rate for incomes over 1 million to fix France's financial problems :(((
+Emmanuel Bourmault : I'm not sure what France you lived in, probably the same imaginary France the National Front (extreme right party in France) lives in. Being French and of immigrant parents, I take the rubbish you just spouted as insulting to me and demeaning for yourself. France is certainly not drowning in insecurity, and the main immigration-related problem is xenophobic people like you.
And given the contributions of France to science in recent years, it is most certainly not true that the great minds are leaving the country.
+Kirill Lebedev What does that mean?. If you earn a million you pay $750,000 franc in taxes?. That does not make any sense.
+Scott Watson read your history. Before government intervention no recession lasted longer than 2 years. It took Europe being reduced to rubble (ending competition) to get us out of the mess the New Deal made of our economy.
+James Wright don't let it get to you. Our progressives usually start discussion with name calling to set the precedent.
+Rick Claussen you mean crony capitalism.

There isn't a single capitalist country in the world, though Chile comes close.
+Nomeneta Saili +Gabriel Perren I guess the USSR may have been miss-spelled. USCR. There! It's all good now. :) I was addressing +Scott Watson 's comment related to "Real" socialism, whose post I understood to discuss socialism as the political system of the USSR.

From (thanks +John Atti) One is indeed more extreme than the other, but as I see it, both have the same core policy: Government owns everything (See ownership structure). I infer that the individual in both systems has no freedom, because the product of their labor is confiscated for the common good, as dictated by the state. It is in this core sense that I use the terms socialism/communism interchangeably.

And +Nomeneta Saili , I agree with you that socialism is not evil. The goal is valiant: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his contribution/need." Delivery is the problem. I have no objection to individuals opting for socialism, but I do object when this is forced on the individual. After all, if socialism is so wonderful, there is no reason to force it on anyone.

I wish you all. freedom loving or otherwise, a good night, health and happiness ... and to president elect Holland, the wisdom of Solomon in the coming years.
It might make your view of Hollande clearer if you consider that the Socialists in France are so called for purely historical reasons : they are in fact social-democrats. The Communist party in France are more akin to socialism in the way you are considering it.
+Siddharth Madhusudan Who are you to say I'm xenophobic ? My wife is Chinese (look at my pic).
The problem is not the immigration cause I'm an immigrant in other countries, but the poor quality immigrant that comes just to flee poverty in their countries but with very low qualification, they settle down and gets all advantages of the country without giving any efforts.
They know perfectly how to get money without working, it's so easy in France.
The high quality and rich workers (like me) goes out of France, the low quality comes in, I let you imagine why the insecurity is climbing !
Emmanuel , the picture doesn't mean anything. You are still a xenophobe, but selectively. Most immigrants flee poverty, and your argument doesn't make sense.
Just say bluntly that you don't like immigrants with a certain color and save us some time.
Just keep changing your argument a little each time so you don't have to admit you're wrong ;)
I am not sure what the immigration is like in Europe but i do agree that there should be some form of control. I am all for caring for the less fortunate and those that are vulnerable in our society. In saying this though those that are less fortunate should do their part as well and contribute if and where ever they can.

I have always like socialist ideals as i think that as a society we should help out our fellow people when they genuinely in need of help. This is why i will always advocate for more state involvement at least in social programs. Priviatising everything will leave those that are vulnerable in our society at the mercy of big business that only think of profit over people. Having state involvement should ensure equal opportunity for everyone to achieve a better life for themselves and not just for the have's.

Govts should be enablers to help enable everyone to achieve their potential. It will get more people out of poverty and reliance on welfare and should help with a countries economic and social wellbeing .
French government spending as a percentage of GDP = 56% = highest in EU = top 10 in World = elect a socialist president to fix the economy by cutting less.
+Nomeneta Saili Do the simple search "Francois Hollande 75% tax" and read what kind of crap a socialist can come up with.
People are different, and idea of equality is myth, because the only way to make people equal is forcefully remove something from more fortunate ones and give it to less fortunate. If you call that fare and just, you probably young and don't have anything in your life that you've built or earned with long and hard work.
+Emmanuel Bourmault : Oh, I'm sorry, I wasn't aware you were a better human being than us "low-quality immigrants", please forgive me, Ô superior being.
Studies ( : université de Lille, article about the study by Courrier International) show that immigrants pay more in taxes that they take in aid : in other words, they earn money for France (12 billion euros, this study indicates). So your arguments about lazy immigrants leeching off the state is complete tosh.
And in terms of insecurity, the vast majority of crime in France is committed by French citizens. Therefore the problem is a social one, not one caused by "low-quality immigrants".
And if you don't want to seem xenophobic, pick your words, and your causes, with more care.

+Nomeneta Saili : For your first paragraph, see above ^^ Immigration is not a problem. As to the rest, I agree completely.

+Kirill Lebedev : Whatever you might think about the last bracket at 75%, saying that the idea of equality is a myth is foolish. While we are not intrinsically equal, we should strive towards a more equal society, because the alternative is survival of the fittest.
And regardless of what you might think about the subject, in France it is a core ideal of the Republic : "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité".
Yes, and historically speaking, legislating equality works </sarcasm>.
+Jeffrey Hamby That's not quite what I meant ^^ It's something the French are sensitive to, even on the right : equality of chances is something that is quite natural to talk about in France, even though methods to attain that goal obviously differ. So the "equality is a myth" line wouldn't work very well in France.
+Siddharth Madhusudan
-- "equality is a myth" line wouldn't work very well in France.

apparently it still works for 49% of French who voted against president-socialist. Neither cancellation of austerity measures nor taxing rich at 75% won't fix country's financial problems - watch him go down in 4 years.
+Kirill Lebedev taking the rest of the country with him.

Nationality, race, religion, it doesn't matter. You cannot legislate equality.

Besides, as the majority of French citizens earn more than more than 75% of the rest of the world, how many of those "should be fair" mentality voters are willing to take even less income so that it can be distributed to those who need it more?
I don't know where you're both from, but the political spectrum in France is still significantly further to the left than in most places in the world. "Solidarity" is a key word of the right, though obviously they don't mean in in quite the same way as the left. Still, even those who voted for Sarkozy don't believe equality is a myth : they just think that if our economy isn't kept going (by austerity measures), there won't be anything for anyone. And you'll note that I'm not defending the 75% tax bracket ; it isn't by any means his main proposition, and most definitely is not where he is funding deficit reduction.

And what is the provision of education and healthcare to all if not a legislation of equality of chances? A smart kid, whatever his background, should be able to achieve according to his merit, I'm sure you'll agree.
And the day there's a world government with any kind of common policy, I'm sure you'll tell me ^^ I'm sure you've noticed that countries are convenient units of government and policy-making.

Of course, this is all assuming you even want to give people a chance : that's is the choice that was made in France.

And "watch him go down in 4 years"? Such predictive powers! Especially since he's got a 5-year mandate...
Nice diversion, but I think it's obvious, since we're talking about socialism, that the equality we're discussing is economic... Salary. Along with that comes ad himinem ( as it always does with progressives when I point out problems with funding socialist programs). That happens when you can't argue the actual point. Of course I'm for people having a chance.

France, like most countries who have allowed their government to try to spend them into prosperity, is broke. Spending vs. GDP is unsustainable. I ask again, where will France get the money to fund new socialist programs?
"Of course, this is all assuming you even want to give people a chance : that's is the choice that was made in France."
I'm not rich, but helped a lot of good people and donate a lot too (mostly free work). That's a normal way - giving a chance to people who deserved it. But I don't support lazy assholes, who don't want to change their expensive habits and who demand money from their governments, loot and destroy property. Of course they will vote for socialist, who promised them to continue overspending and overtaxing.
If sucking government tit is a French way - God speed:)))
Actually, you'll notice that from the beginning I never mentioned equality of salaries, only of chances. And so does François Hollande (as he's the one we're interested in) : he isn't going to increase the minimum wage, or wages in general ; there will be a slight tax increase, with a focus on removing some of the 'fiscal gifts', as they say here, that mean that taxes are too regressive to even make sense ; and there will be continued budget cuts in certain sectors, but with a focus on maintaining education and healthcare (thus having to reduce everything else). And obviously there have to be talks in the EU as to the role of the central bank, since it is currently lending to european banks at 1% interest, and said banks are then lending to states at 6 to 18% interest.
And I would have to disagree on the fact that France is "broke" : France's debt to GDP ratio is lower than the US's. No, Greece is broke, and Ireland was broke. France is not broke, and in fact its public investment policies have made it one of the rare countries in Europe to not have gone through a recession in the past 3 years (ie as a consequence of the debt crisis as opposed to the 2008 crisis).

Also, if that came across as ad hominem, it was not intended to, and I apologise. I'm no economics expert, and I wouldn't want to pretend to be one. I just wanted to point out that I did talk about equality of chances, and nothing else. No offense intended ^^
If that's true then he's not really a socialist.
+Kirill Lebedev Well, there's really a fundamental difference here there's not much point debating on ^^ I appreciated hearing your point of view, though. Now, this here lazy socialist asshole has work to do (looting and destroying property, you know) (oh, and sucking government tit ^^), so good luck to you too.
As I said earlier, the Parti Socialiste in France is a social-democratic party : for historical reasons, they are named the socialist party, but they're a centre-left party.
+Siddharth Madhusudan

"...he isn't going to increase the minimum wage, or wages in general "

BBC: "The Socialist candidate has promised to raise taxes on big corporations and people earning more than 1m euros a year. He wants to raise the minimum wage, hire 60,000 more teachers and lower the retirement age from 62 to 60 for some workers."

Tell me, what do big corporations do when they get overtaxed? That's right, they take their business someplace else, like China or some tax-friendly place, where they can save money. And they do close their factories and people do lose jobs and stop paying taxes and start to collect unemployment benefits.
It happens everywhere, and government tit gets small, dry and wrinkly :(((

Thanx for nice chat:))
Dan B.
Kirill - corporation don't pay taxes anywhere...their customers do, if corporate taxes go up, their product prices do...any tax on corporations is yet another fee on consumers by proxy...sadly, so many people are too stupid to realize that.
Dan, I don't really care about big corporations and their taxes - trying to mind my own life and don't watch other people's money:)))
But it sucks when they close and lay off people.
Dan B.
I tend to approach life in much the same way...
Mik M
The Irish government said they same...until they had power......
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