US welcomes rightist Sarkozy


Summary

The United States has congratulated French president-elect Nicolas Sarkozy, who's expected to forge closer ties with Washington.

The European Union was also quick to congratulate Mr Sarkozy after his resounding win in France's run-off presidential vote on Sunday.

US President George W. Bush was among the first world leaders to telephone Mr Sarkozy to congratulate him on his convincing victory over socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal in the runoff election.

"The United States and France are historic allies and partners. President Bush looks forward to working with president-elect Sarkozy as we continue our strong alliance," said Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the White House National Security Council.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said he had "full confidence" in the 52-year-old right-winger to "provide a driving force" for reform in the 27-country bloc.

Mr Barroso said in a statement: "I rejoice at the prospect of working together for the strengthening of the European Union, in a spirit of open-mindedness, for a Europe that does not withdraw on itself but, strong in its values and assets, will win over the challenge of globalisation."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Mr Sarkozy would strengthen the French-German axis at the heart of the EU, expressing hope that under him, their countries' friendship "will continue to be the basis to secure lasting peace, democracy and prosperity in Europe."

By late afternoon, some 75.11 percent of France's 44.5 million eligible voters had cast ballots to choose a successor to President Jacques Chirac, the highest turnout since the 1965 election won by Charles de Gaulle.

According to projections, Mr Sarkozy won 53 percent of the vote compared to 47 percent for Ms Royal.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair telephoned Mr Sarkozy to congratulate him on his win, and Spain's Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero praised him as a "solid politician."

He "represents an open and modern right" that would help France "recover its self-assurance and keep being a part of the European locomotive in the 21st century", a statement from Mr Zapatero's office said.

Italian centre-left Prime Minister Romano Prodi said Mr Sarkozy had won a "handsome victory", saying: "My country, my government and myself, personally, continue to consider France as a key ally and you, personally, as a friend."

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, a conservative, added: "This clear victory by Nicolas Sarkozy demonstrates the desire for change that is present across Europe and not only in France."

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende praised the French people for choosing "change and modernisation", while Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged a "rapid clarification" of Mr Sarkozy's position on a proposed EU constitution which was rejected by French voters in a referendum in 2005.

Mr Sarkozy has proposed a "mini-treaty" cherry-picking the practical parts of the constitution, which could be ratified by parliament, not by referendum.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed hope that he and Mr Sarkozy could work together towards peace in the Middle East.

Congratulations also came from French-speaking parts of Africa, where Mr Sarkozy has promised an overhaul of relations and tacitly criticised Chirac's "personal" ties with the leaders of questionable regimes.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said the French people had "chosen in you a man of heart and of action."

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade added: "It is with personal pleasure that I offer you my warmest congratulations on your brilliant election… which shows unmistakably the trust in your social project."

In Hungary, the president-elect's 92-year-old great aunt said she was "elated" but "not the least bit surprised" that the son of a Hungarian immigrant had risen to become the ruler of France.

"I don't want to sound arrogant, but I could have predicted two years ago that he would win. He has such drive, has so much experience and is so talented and intelligent," Mariann Sarkozy told news agency AFP.


The United States has congratulated French president-elect Nicolas Sarkozy, who's expected to forge closer ties with Washington.

The European Union was also quick to congratulate Mr Sarkozy after his resounding win in France's run-off presidential vote on Sunday.

US President George W. Bush was among the first world leaders to telephone Mr Sarkozy to congratulate him on his convincing victory over socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal in the runoff election.

"The United States and France are historic allies and partners. President Bush looks forward to working with president-elect Sarkozy as we continue our strong alliance," said Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the White House National Security Council.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said he had "full confidence" in the 52-year-old right-winger to "provide a driving force" for reform in the 27-country bloc.

Mr Barroso said in a statement: "I rejoice at the prospect of working together for the strengthening of the European Union, in a spirit of open-mindedness, for a Europe that does not withdraw on itself but, strong in its values and assets, will win over the challenge of globalisation."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Mr Sarkozy would strengthen the French-German axis at the heart of the EU, expressing hope that under him, their countries' friendship "will continue to be the basis to secure lasting peace, democracy and prosperity in Europe."

By late afternoon, some 75.11 percent of France's 44.5 million eligible voters had cast ballots to choose a successor to President Jacques Chirac, the highest turnout since the 1965 election won by Charles de Gaulle.

According to projections, Mr Sarkozy won 53 percent of the vote compared to 47 percent for Ms Royal.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair telephoned Mr Sarkozy to congratulate him on his win, and Spain's Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero praised him as a "solid politician."

He "represents an open and modern right" that would help France "recover its self-assurance and keep being a part of the European locomotive in the 21st century", a statement from Mr Zapatero's office said.

Italian centre-left Prime Minister Romano Prodi said Mr Sarkozy had won a "handsome victory", saying: "My country, my government and myself, personally, continue to consider France as a key ally and you, personally, as a friend."

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, a conservative, added: "This clear victory by Nicolas Sarkozy demonstrates the desire for change that is present across Europe and not only in France."

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende praised the French people for choosing "change and modernisation", while Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged a "rapid clarification" of Mr Sarkozy's position on a proposed EU constitution which was rejected by French voters in a referendum in 2005.

Mr Sarkozy has proposed a "mini-treaty" cherry-picking the practical parts of the constitution, which could be ratified by parliament, not by referendum.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed hope that he and Mr Sarkozy could work together towards peace in the Middle East.

Congratulations also came from French-speaking parts of Africa, where Mr Sarkozy has promised an overhaul of relations and tacitly criticised Chirac's "personal" ties with the leaders of questionable regimes.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said the French people had "chosen in you a man of heart and of action."

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade added: "It is with personal pleasure that I offer you my warmest congratulations on your brilliant election… which shows unmistakably the trust in your social project."

In Hungary, the president-elect's 92-year-old great aunt said she was "elated" but "not the least bit surprised" that the son of a Hungarian immigrant had risen to become the ruler of France.

"I don't want to sound arrogant, but I could have predicted two years ago that he would win. He has such drive, has so much experience and is so talented and intelligent," Mariann Sarkozy told news agency AFP.