Hollande sworn in as France’s president
François Hollande has become France’s first socialist leader after 17 years as he was sworn in as the new president at the Elysée palace, taking over from his right-wing predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy.
In his first speech as president, Hollande said justice would be his main priority in a bid to contribute to world peace.
He said: “My mandate is to bring France back to justice, open up a new way in Europe, contribute to world peace and preserve the planet.”
The new leader also vowed to fight for unity and reconciliation and lead by example. He also pledged to run the country with “dignity and simplicity” as means of standing out from the former president. He said he was fully aware of the challenges facing France, including the debt deficit and high unemployment, and reiterated his intention to amend a European financial pact to add growth-boosting measures to the deficit-cutting policies backed by the outgoing Sarkozy and Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor whom Mr Hollande is due to meet in Berlin this evening.
He said: “I will tell them (the European leaders) the necessity for our continent is to protect, in an unstable world, not only its values but its interests in the name of commercial exchange.”
In his speech, Hollande paid tribute to previous presidents including Jacques Chirac’s attachment to the “values of the Republic”, but shied away from honouring Mr Sarkozy’s time in the office simply wishing him well in his “new life”.
The inauguration was attended by merely 350 guests as per the requests of the new president, who wants to distinguish himself from the former president and his celebrity lifestyle. The event was attended by his partner, political journalist Valérie Trierweiler, but his children were nowhere to be seen.
Mr Hollande is yet to appoint his prime minister and Jean-Marc Ayrault, leader of the Socialist group, a German speaker and close ally, is said to be the leading contender for the position while Michel Sapin, a key economic adviser to Mr Hollande, is likely to be his finance minister.