French president-elect Francois Hollande declared on Monday that "austerity can no longer be inevitable" in a victory speech at the famous Place de la Bastille in Paris.
Thousands of supporters waving trade union banners and Communist flags flocked to see the Socialist leader, who said that "the foremost duty of the president of the republic is to unite in order to face the challenges that await us."
Mr Hollande defeated incumbent rightwinger Nicolas Sarkozy with 51.62 per cent of the vote on a strong turnout of 81 per cent.
The president-elect acknowledged the wider feeling across Europe: "In all the capitals, beyond government leaders and state leaders, there are people who, thanks to us, are hoping, are looking to us and want to put an end to austerity."
He said his first act will be to write to other leaders of European Union member states calling for a renegotiation of the neoliberal EU fiscal treaty to ensure that member state governments can kickstart economic growth and reduce unemployment with state-funded stimulus programmes.
Mr Hollande also pledged to tax the super-rich at 75 per cent of their income, restore pension rights scrapped by the Sarkozy administration, recruit more teachers and increase spending in a range of sectors, while easing France off its dependence on nuclear energy.
Mr Sarkozy, who stood about half-a-million votes behind Mr Hollande in the first round, failed to attract sufficient support from backers of neofascist leader Marine Le Pen.
Referring to the presidency of his predecessor, Mr Hollande said: "Too many divisions, too many wounds, too many breakdowns and divides have separated our fellow citizens.
"This is over now."
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The Con-Dems have had it their way too long. We have to turn this country around