The runoff election which pits Socialist François Hollande and conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy was long anticipated by opinion polls, which, in recent days placed Hollande as the frontrunner. The high score of the far-right National Front candidate, Marine Le Pen, however, came as a surprise. With nearly 20% of the vote, Le Pen will weigh on Sarkozy's campaign.
For the Financial Times Deutschland, Nicolas Sarkozy's second place score is a "humiliation" which shows the "brutal rejection" to which he is subjected. The German daily says that the first round is "not just a result, it is a verdict against a president unable to accomplish the necessary reforms". Convinced that the French want to get rid of Sarkozy at all cost, the FTD notes that François Hollande could have just the pragmatic skills essential to getting out of the crisis -