As expected, Socialist Francois Hollande has defeated incumbent president Nicloas Sarkozy. With half the vote counted, Holland leads 51-49. French polling agencies project that Hollande will end up capturing between 52 and 53 percent of the final vote.
With so many factors working against him — above all, the economy — Sarkozy ended up running fairly well. But France nonetheless will be saddled with a Socialist president and, by most accounts, a rather undistinguished one.
Hollande wants to renegotiate the European treaty on budget cuts that Germany’s Angela Merkel and Sarkozy championed, so that he can spend money France does not have on a higher minimum wage, the hiring of more civil servants, and so forth.
Expect the markets to be considerably less well-disposed to this program than are the French voters.