French election: Your views

Socialist leader Francois Hollande is to be France's new president, winning just under 52% of Sunday's vote.

The result means Nicolas Sarkozy is the first French president since 1981 not to win a second term.

BBC News website readers in France have been sending in their reaction to the vote. Here are some of their views.

Philippe Ruffin, 38, Grenoble

I work in the private sector for a technology company.

The area I live in - Grenoble - is quite prosperous, there are several private sector firms here providing employment.

I think a lot of people feel that Sarkozy caused too much damage to the French people and to France as a country, as an institution.

He built communities up against each other and took a very economically liberal stance - far too liberal a stance for France - promoting money and success, whatever that means, as the sole criteria for evaluation.

And he has damaged some of our institutions, degrading the figure of the president, and of the republic. He basically deconstructed the French social system that is at the heart of the French way of life.

Francois Hollande has been smart enough to behave in exactly the opposite way all along the campaign - so overall, the desire to get rid of Nicolas Sarkozy was probably the main reason that got him elected.

Whether Mr Hollande will succeed in rebuilding the nation - which has probably never been so "split" in recent years - it's hard to tell.

He is capable, no doubt about that. And he has the will, at least for now... but how far he can hold against the financial lobby, and against its European partners, is a different question.

He will need to quickly implement a couple of early, down to earth measures for the unemployed, and for the lower middle class, so as to gain momentum for more in-depth, harder to "cash on" reforms.

As long as he stays on a left-wing, social path, he will keep the French people with him. But if he goes too far to the centre, denying the possibility of an "alternative" to austerity, he will get in trouble, and Jean-Luc Melenchon will be on his back.

Romain Bulot, 19, from Lisieux, Normandy

I am a student from a small town with around 20,000 inhabitants.

I voted for Mr Sarkozy in Sunday's election.

I am not surprised at Francois Hollande's victory - it was predicted in the polls - but I am disappointed, and concerned for my country's future.

I did not want him to win because I think he is not experienced enough to lead France and to achieve his promises.

Mr Sarkozy has been a mayor, a government minister and the president - he is a safe bet - Hollande really doesn't appear to have what it takes to be a president!

There are several promises that Mr Hollande has made which worry me. In particular, his plan to raise the highest rate of income tax to 75%.

It is unfair to take three quarters of someone's earnings - I think some high earners will leave our country for places such as Switzerland.

I also feel concerned about our relationship with Germany. It is important for us to maintain good relations with the Germans - and I think their economic approach is a good model for us to follow.

I am studying statistics at university - this is a popular degree and there is a lot of demand for graduates in this area - I hope that is still the case when I finish my course in a few years.

Many of my friends also voted for Mr Sarkozy - they are worrying about the future under a Socialist government too.

We will see what kind of a leader Mr Hollande turns out to be.