Well, the tidal wave of anti-Sarkozy sentiment really happened. Never before has an educated, western electorate rejected an incumbent president in such numbers and with such unanimity. Let's have a look at those figures again, shall we?
François Hollande: 51.6% (18,004,656 votes)
Nicolas Sarkozy: 48.4% (16,865,340 votes)
That's a landslide if ever I saw one. In fact, it's the tightest margin in the history of the French Fifth Republic. Benedict Brogan in the Daily Telegraph wrote a very interesting piece:
…which is worth a few minutes of your time. Even though I'm firmly to the right of anything that happens in the political world I still hope that the newly-elected blancmange is up to the task, otherwise it's curtains for France and Europe.
The (left-wing) French media are trying to talk up a Mitterand-style euphoria but the people aren't buying into it; there's as much scepticism now as there was anti-Sarko sentiment back in 2007. Bearing in mind there was no crisis on the horizon five years ago the immediate future is going to be interesting, to say the least. Flanby's acceptance speech started well but degenerated into a long-winded series of empty platitudes which negated his initial, almost statesmanlike utterings. Sarkozy was gracious in defeat, almost relieved, might one say; the upcoming presidential term is a poisoned chalice and the eyes of the world will be on the latest incumbent…