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Elections In Europe Seen As Referendum On Austerity

President-elect Francois Hollande waves from the balcony of the Socialist Party headquarters in Paris Monday. (AP)

France has a new leader. Leftist Francois Hollande narrowly defeated incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy and he’ll take office no later than May 16.

The victory could deal a death blow to the drive for austerity during some of Europe’s worst economic troubles, as Hollande campaigned on the idea that “Austerity can no longer be inevitable,” and he promised to raise taxes on corporations and the rich.

“[Hollande] still has quite a lot to prove” and it’s yet to be seen how he’ll tackle economic issues, James Coomarasamy, reporter for The BBC, told Here & Now‘s Robin Young.

“We know the broad outline… the question is when he comes up against opposition… and reality… perhaps some of those policies and promises will have to be rounded off at the edges,” he said.

Coomarasamy adds that the sentiment that drove many voters was a desire to get Sarkozy out of power.

“I think people are happy to be ride of Sarkozy, but nervous about Hollande,” he said.

Guests:

  • James Coomarasamy, reporter for The BBC
  • Christopher Dickey, Newsweek’s Paris bureau Chief.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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