PARIS: Socialist candidate Francois Hollande won the French presidential election on Sunday with between 52 and 53 percent of the
vote, ousting right-wing incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy, according to estimates.
Joyful crowds were gathering in Hollande's hometown of Tulle and in front of Socialist headquarters in Paris, as rumours of the result spread more than an hour before French media were legally permitted to publish results.
Three polling institutes -- CSA, TNS Sofres and Ipsos -- estimated that
Hollande had won 52 percent of the vote to Sarkozy's 48, based on samples of actual ballots taken before the official end of polling at 8.00pm (1800 GMT).
Harris Interactive estimated the Socialist's score at between 52.7 and 53.3 percent. All the estimates were in line with previous opinion polls, which were banned from publication in France from midnight on Friday.
If confirmed, Hollande's margin of victory in 2012 would be slightly narrower than Sarkozy's when he came to office in 2007, when he beat then Socialist flag-bearer Segolene Royal by 53.1 percent to her 46.9. (AFP)