Francois Hollande Assumes Office as France's PresidentWorld | May 15, 2012, Tuesday // 12:28| views
French President-elect Francois Hollande (R) is welcomed by outgoing French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) prior to a handover ceremony at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, France, 15 May 2012. EPA/BGNES
Francois Hollande has officially taken his state oath as France's new President, making him the first socialist leader of the country since Francois Mitterrand 17 years ago.
"From today you impersonate France, symbolize the values of the Republic and represent all French people," solemnly stated Jean-Louis Debre, chair of France's Constitutional Court.
Hollande was awarded the French Order of the Legion of Honour and signed an official protocol, after which he was officially inaugurated the 7th President of the Fifth Republic at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
Before that, he had a one-on-one meeting with predecessor, rightist French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who stepped down from the helm of one of the world's great powers.
"I will open a new road for Europe," vowed France's new President in his first speech as a head of state.
His words strongly emphasized the notions of trust and unity, promising to meet the challenges France is facing and to make all French people "live together, united by the same values."
Hollande will reveal the name of France's new PM Tuesday afternoon. Informed reports have it that this will be Jean-Marc Ayrault, the parliamentary leader of the French Parti Socialiste.
Later Tuesday evening the new French President will fly out promptly to meet the leader of France's main partner in Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Francois Hollande beat rightist Union for a Popular Movement leader, outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy, at a close second-round race May 6, gathering 51.6% of the popular vote.
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