French Socialist candidate François Hollande won Sunday's run-off presidential election, defeating incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy, according to figures released by the government. He will be sworn in later this month.
With more than 99 percent of ballots counted, Sarkozy received 48.3 percent of the vote while Hollande received approximately 51.7 percent, according to the country's interior ministry. Hollande had led the polls for months and polling institutes predicted he would win around 52 percent during Sunday's run-off vote.
During the first round of the presidential election on April 22, conservative Sarkozy obtained 27.18 percent of the vote while his opponent Hollande secured 28.63 percent. A total of ten candidates participated in the first round, with right-wing politician Marine Le Pen finishing third place.
"I want to tell you how moved I am to be the person who can represent you. The one to whom you gave the responsibility of the country," Hollande said on Sunday evening as he addressed thousands of supporters in the capital of Paris. "I also want to tell you my pride to be the president of the republic, of all the citizens [who are] equal in their rights and in their duties."
Sarkozy is the latest in a growing line of European leaders tossed from office in the face of the Eurozone's debt crisis. Amidst voters' anger over harsh economic austerity measures, France saw its national unemployment rate reach a 12-year high of 9.3 percent during Sarkozy's presidency.
"France has a new president. This is the republic's choice. François Hollande is the president of France who must be respected," Sarkozy said in Paris as he addressed his supporters, who repeatedly interrupted him with a mix of booing and cheering. "I just spoke with him on the phone and I wished him good luck."
Both U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron called Hollande to congratulate him on his victory. "They both look forward to working very closely together in the future and building on the very close relationship that already exists between the UK and France," a spokesperson for Cameron said.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama will welcome Hollande to Camp David, the country retreat of the president and his guests, for the G-8 Summit and to Chicago for the NATO Summit later this month. They also agreed to meet beforehand at the White House in Washington, D.C.
"President Obama indicated that he looks forward to working closely with Mr. Hollande and his government on a range of shared economic and security challenges," Carney said. "President Obama and President-elect Hollande each reaffirmed the important and enduring alliance between the people of the United States and France."