And Now, Make Room for Change!

With 51.8 percent of the vote, the men and women of France have elected François Hollande President of the Republic. A win this big is absolutely clear.

The French, without any ambiguity, have centered at the head of state the strength of youth, the desire for change and hope in progress. This is the second major change after that of May 10, 1981. It is great news for France, great news for the Republic, and great news for Europe.

No one will forget this second-round campaign, which yielded blunders deemed unacceptable by the French people. The Republic has emerged anew, raised up as never before in support of a candidate who made rallying his mission and equality his program.

I followed François Hollande for many years. I saw his transformation take place from former First Secretary of the Socialist Party, to candidate, to historic leader of the left, and now to head of state. Nothing was given him, nothing was granted him, nothing was vouchsafed by this or that privilege. All that he took, he always took from the right; it's that which he still won this May 6, 2012. Moreover, he unseated Nicolas Sarkozy, part of in his plan for France and for Europe. Watched with curiosity by European leaders, he succeeded in convincing voters across France, managing to defend a plan for growth and justice, an ambition for the continent. The French trust him sufficiently to represent them before all the heads of state, with Germany as an essential partner for the future of the EU and for each European summit. Hope is now a new idea in Europe.

The challenge from now on is to allow François Hollande to implement his policies. The incumbent's teams will, no doubt, flaunt the benefits of governmental cohabitation -- those who have yet to demonstrate this -- and attempt to avoid ceding all the power to the left, after the regional authorities, the Senate, and the president. The reality of the situation is nevertheless very different. This is the presidential election, the mother of all elections in our country, which has helped set the course for the next five years. The left does not aspire to power for itself, but has conquered in order to transform the country and bring justice to the people of France. The challenge of the legislative elections will be, more than ever, to confirm the decision of May 6, 2012.

This campaign was as intricate as it was long-lasting. It began amongst citizens, and it enabled the candidate to sanctify social justice, tax justice, and territorial justice. François Hollande criss-crossed France, meeting with the people of France. It is thus natural that France made him the President of the Republic.

Starting now, François Hollande will have significant responsibilities. We know the magnitude of his task. Every time France elected the party of the left, the country was in a period of great social suffering, facing major economic difficulties. An unemployment rate that affected almost 10 percent of the workforce, a housing situation that concerns 3.7 million people, a fuel crisis that threatens 4 million homes, weak buying power, and a trade deficit that reached a record of 70 billion euros in 2011. For Francois Hollande, the challenge is immense and the responsibility is historical. He will, with the high-mindedness that characterizes him, hold up the sense of statehood that always singled him out, with an unwavering commitment to serve his country. On this May 6, 2012, the sovereign people spoke, and they elected a new President, Francois Hollande. And now, make room for change!