UK & World News
Hollande In Victory Promise To French People
New French President Francois Hollande has promised to heal the divisive wounds in his country, and said: "I will be a president of everybody."
"Too many divisions have divided our citizens," socialist leader Mr Hollande said in his victory speech.
"The first duty of the president of the republic is to unite and make each citizen participate in the heavy changes needed to get our country out of the crisis."
Mr Hollande added: "I will be a president of everybody. This evening there are not two Frances face-to-face, but only one nation facing the same destiny."
Hundreds of supporters of Mr Hollande had gathered in his hometown of Tulle, north east of Bordeaux, to hear the speech in the town's main square.
"I promise to serve my country with devotion," Mr Hollande said to raucous cheers.
Later, after being flown to Paris, Mr Hollande addressed supporters at an open air concert at the famous Bastille monument.
Mr Hollande is France's first socialist president since Francois Mitterrand, who was leader from 1981-1995.
"A lot of people have been waiting for this moment for many years. Others, young people, have never known a victory."
British Prime Minister David Cameron has telephoned Mr Hollande to congratulate him on the victory.
Hollande spokesman Bruno la Roux told Sky's Robert Nisbet that the new president would forge a strong relationship with Downing Street, despite "political differences".
Exit polls showed the socialist candidate to have gained around 4% more of the vote than the conservative outgoing leader, Nicolas Sarkozy.
Fears have been voiced that the Hollande victory would change how Europe tackles the eurozone debt crisis - with more stimulus and less austerity.
However Mr Hollande sought to soothe German concerns, and promised continued support "in the name of the friendship that unites us".
The incoming president also paid tribute to the outgoing head of state.
"I know the requirements and I give a republican salute to Nicolas Sarkozy, who led France for five years and who deserves all our respect."
Mr Sarkozy had conceded defeat just 20 minutes after polls shut at 8pm, local time.
"The French people have made their choice... Francois Hollande is the President of France and he must be respected," Mr Sarkozy said in Paris.
He added: "I bear full responsibility for defeat."
:: Mr Hollande must deliver his inauguration speech within 10 days of being elected. Parliamentary elections for the National Assembly will now be held in June.