French socialist Francois Hollande has won a clear victory in the country’s presidential
Mr Hollande – who got an estimated 52% of votes in Sunday’s run-off – said the French had chosen “change”.
Admitting defeat, centre-right incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy wished “good luck” to Mr Hollande.
Analysts say the vote has wide implications for the whole eurozone. Mr Hollande has vowed to rework a deal on government debt in member countries.
Shortly after polls closed at 20:00 (18:00 GMT), French media published projections based on partial results giving Mr Hollande a lead of almost four points.
Turnout was about 80%.
Exuberant Hollande supporters gathered on Place de la Bastille in Paris – a traditional rallying point of the Left – to celebrate.
Mr Hollande – the first socialist to win the French presidency since Francois Mitterrand in the 1980s – gave his victory speech in his stronghold of Tulle in central France.