Sarkozy, an avowed fan of the United States #4

Sarkozy, an avowed fan of the United States, is the first French president from the baby boomer generation. He will serve a five-year term, replacing Jacques Chirac, 74, who has been president for 12 years and must step down by May 17.

In a victory speech before a jubilant crowd of supports, Sarkozy said voters "have chosen to break with the habits and behavior of the past," and he vowed "to give greater value to work, to authority, to respect, to merit."

"I want to give French people back the pride of being French," he said to wild cheers, "to finish with repentance, which is a form of self-hate."

In a sign that he will aim to end France's declining influence abroad and re-exert its leadership in Europe -- a role that it seemed to abdicate two years ago when the French voters defeated a referendum on the European Union's proposed constitution -- Sarkozy announced: "Today France is back in Europe."

And he had a special message for the United States, which has had troubled relations with France under Chirac, who led international opposition to the U.S. war in Iraq: "I'd like to appeal to our American friends -- to say that they can count on our friendship. . . . But I would also like to say that friendship means accepting that your friends don't necessarily see eye to eye with you, and that a great nation like the United States has the duty not to oppose the fight against global warming, but to lead that battle, because what is at stake is the destiny of mankind." He said he would make the issue his top international priority as president.

In Washington Post (ler artigo na íntegra)

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