Socialist Party candidate Hollande is France's first Left-wing President in 17 years and he comes to power during a period of deep economic crisis.
Yesterday evening, a crowd of cheering supporters assembled at Paris' Place de la Bastille, a pivotal center of the 1789 French revolution, to celebrate the victory of the socialist candidate. To them, Mr. Hollande renewed the promise that “austerity need not be Europe’s fate,” International Herald Tribune
Mr Hollande appeared conscious of the wider significance of his victory. "Europe is looking at us," he is reported as saying by The Independent
. "In many European countries this victory will be received with relief and hope... as a sign that the austerity-only approach to the crisis is not inevitable."
During his Presidential campaign, Mr Hollande said he works to give Europe a new direction. In particular, he is posing to demand that the European Union treaty limiting debt - the so called fiscal drag - be expanded to include measures to produce economic growth, International Herald Tribune
This means the first stone of Mr Hollande's program consists in rewriting the austerity-driven pact struck between the outgoing Nicolas Sarkozy and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.
Hollande's plan is certainly ambitious, but with the European economy still floundering, the new President may face an uphill struggle.
"With the right in disarray," goes yesterday's Guardian
's editorial, "Mr Hollande has a rare opportunity to reshape the political landscape in a country whose default position is to the right."
"He will need all his steel as a leader if he is to succeed – and, one senses, not an insignificant amount of luck."