Paris, May 7: French President Nicolas Sarkozy conceded defeat to his Socialist Party challenger Francois Hollande in the presidential runoff Sunday, saying he had called his rival on the phone and wished him “good luck”.
“The new French president needs to be respected,” Sarkozy told his supporters as exit polls and partial official results showed a victory for Hollande.
“I am responsible for my failure in the election,” the outgoing president was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
Many of his supporters were seen crying.
Hollande beat Sarkozy in a tight run-off election to win the presidency with 51.9 percent of the vote to Sarkozy’s 48.1 percent, the website of France 24 TV channel reported citing the Ipsos polling institute.
Official results are expected to be largely in line with the exit polls.
France has 46 million registered voters, about 82 percent of whom were estimated to have cast their ballots Sunday.