François Hollande is elected French president

Socialist Party candidate François Hollande has won the French presidential elections. Official results announced by the interior ministry at 1 a.m. Monday gave Hollande a 51.67% share of the vote in mainland France, but excluding the results from French expatriate votes. Hollande’s victory over incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy, credited with 48.33%, is the first time a socialist has been elected president since François Mitterrand won a second term of office in 1988 and ends 17 years of uninterrupted conservative occupancy of the post. Hollande, 57, will now formally enter office mid-May, when he will appoint a prime minister to form a caretaker government until parliamentary elections are held in June. “I have confidence in France, I know it well, I know we are capable of straightening ourselves up," Hollande said in a victory speech on Sunday evening. “It is this French dream that I will make it my job to accomplish." Sarkozy, meanwhile, said he accepted "full responsibility" for his defeat and announced he was quitting front-line politics. "My place can no longer be the same" he said, "another era is underway".

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By Michael Streeter and Graham Tearse