After 17 years in waiting, French socialists are celebrating in France (and beyond) the victory of François Hollande in the presidential elections. Whilst the predicted 51.9% vote in favour of Hollande is not a landslide, it certainly is a win, with an estimated 80% electoral turn out.

80%? Something that we, here in the UK, can only dream about! But lets not forget that the French are motivated by their elections. They are out on the streets campaigning and protesting about topical issues, it is big news on TV and radio, as well as the printed press, and tonight,

Of course if you believe the Daily Mail, there will be packed Eurostar trains departing Paris at dawn tomorrow, as the rich and wealthy flee the incoming socialist president (just like the supposed number of Brits who where going to leave the UK if Tony Blair had won his first election). Bon voyage to them if this is the case.

Hollande will be a thorn in the side of the coalition government – he is opposed to the austerity policies sweeping Europe. Angela Merkell must be wondering how she is going to deal with the new president-elect, but, if stories are anything to go by, she will not be missing Sarkozy too much…

Much has been made of Hollande’s policies and proposals – however nothing in essence will happen until such stage as he selects his Prime Minister, suggested to possibly be Martine Aubry. Once this has happened, parliamentary elections will occur, and if as tradition dictates, the voters elect a socialist led parliament, then the work can start.

As a left leaning Liberal, I congratulate M Hollande on his victory, and as a self confessed Francophile, I will watch the outcome of this election with the greatest of interest.

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