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France, Greece Vote to Oust Current Governments France, Greece Vote to Oust Current Governments

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Foreign Affairs

France, Greece Vote to Oust Current Governments

Nicolas Sarkozy lost the French presidential election on Sunday, conceding the presidency to French Socialist candidate Francois Hollande, the Associated Press reports.

Hollande received about 52 percent of the vote to 48 percent for Sarkozy, according to projections. His win comes at a time of unrest in France, as a sputtering economy has citizens dissatisfied with government action, or a lack thereof.

Hollande's election will likely mean a large shift from Sarkozy's conservative policies, including higher taxes on companies and a measure similar to U.S. President Obama's "Buffett Rule" that would increase taxes on people with incomes above $1 million.

Sarkozy is the first French president to fail to win reelection in 30 years.

 

The French weren't the only ones to vote today -- Greeks went to the polls for their parliamentary election today, creating a similarly disruptive result, the Associated Press reports. The two main parties that had held power over Greece for decades, the socialist PASOK and conservative New Democracy parties, were left without enough seats to form a government, with the PASOK party, formerly the majority, taking third.

The result indicates backlash from voters against the nation's bailout, which has resulted in austerity policies that have caused staggering unemployment and economic hardship for Greeks.

Both the French and Greek elections indicate a region in turmoil as sluggish economic growth continues to plague much of Europe. With dozens of other nations voting this year, 2012 is looking to be a transformative year for governments and citizens worldwide.

 
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