Obama Calls Sarkozy, Thanks Him for "Strong Leadership," "Friendship"
(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama placed a call Monday to outgoing French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who conceded defeat Sunday in the presidential elections to Socialist candidate Francois Hollande.
The president thanked Sarkozy "for his strong leadership and for his friendship and partnership in challenging times,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement Monday. “He expressed his appreciation for the valued cooperation that has characterized the relationship between the two leaders since January 2009. President Obama said that he and Mrs. Obama extend their very best wishes to President Sarkozy and his wife Carla in their future endeavors."
Sarkozy is the first incumbent president to lose an election in France since 1981.
Hollande, who was leading 51.7 percent to 48.3 percent in the exit polls, will be France’s first socialist president since Francois Mitterrand left office in 1995.
Hollande’s victory was a clear rejection of Sarkozy’s attempts to get the debt crisis under control through an austerity program.
“Austerity can no longer be the only option for Europe,” Hollande said Sunday in his acceptance speech in reference to Sarkozy’s policies to cut government spending.
Under Sarkozy, France’s unemployment rate rose to 10 percent. Hollande wants to put France on a different economic track, promising to raise taxes on France’s wealthiest and stimulate economic growth. During his campaign, Hollande promised to deliver more jobs for policemen and 60,000 jobs in the education sector without increasing France’s total number of civil servants.
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