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Sarkozy Wins Presidential Election in France

  • VOA News

Conservative Nicolas Sarkozy has won the French presidential election, pledging friendship to the United States and appealing to Europe to help those who need protection.

French officials say the former Interior Minister will end up with 53 percent of the vote while Socialist candidate Segolene Royal will finish with 47 percent. Voter turnout was 85 percent.

Royal conceded defeat minutes after the polls closed, sending thousands of Sarkozy supporters into central Paris to celebrate.

Sarkozy said he will be the president of all French citizens and spoke of his respect for Royal and those who voted for her.

He said France will once again be a part of Europe and a steadfast supporter of the European Union. He called on the EU to join France in standing up for those who need help, especially in Africa.

Sarkozy also said while the United States can count on France's friendship, it does not mean the two countries must always see eye to eye. He also called on the United States to take the lead in fighting global warming, which he promised to make a priority.

US - French relations cooled in 2003 when Paris refused to back the war in Iraq.

Royal assured Socialist party supporters that what she will continue what she calls the "renewal of the left." She said she hopes the new president will be able to carry out his mission to be a leader for all the French people.

Sarkozy and Royal were the top two candidates in the first round of voting on April 22nd.

Sarkozy replaces President Jacques Chirac, who is retiring from politics.

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