Socialist challenger Francois Hollande came out ahead of French President Nicolas Sarkozy in the first round of France’s presidential election Sunday, winning 28.6 percent of votes cast, compared to 27.2 percent for Sarkozy. It marks the first time in the history of the country’s present electoral system that a sitting president has been outpolled in the first round.
The two will now face each other in a run-off election on May 6. Until then, the European Union will be holding its breath, as the implications of the election results will extend far beyond France’s borders.
When asked what he considered to be the main takeaways of the first-round results, Arthur Goldhammer, senior affiliate at Harvard University’s Center for European Studies and author of the French Politics blog, emphasized that the election is far from over -- and that it will not be won in the center.