Triumphant Sarkozy plans reforms

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Nicolas Sarkozy is planning a wave of reforms after winning yesterday's presidential election.

The centre-right favourite beat socialist candidate Segolene Royal convincingly, having led polls throughout the campaign. He took 53 per cent of the vote compared to her 47 per cent, from an extremely high turnout of 85 per cent.

Violence was reported throughout France's provincial cities last night, as Ms Royal had warned.

Parisian police faced rioters throwing stones in the Place de la Bastille, but Mr Sarkozy sought to reach out to those who voted against him in last night's victory speech.

"Above and beyond the political fight… for me there is only once France. I will be president of all the French," he said.

Now the son of a Hungarian immigrant, having proposed a generational shift with the past, is preparing to implement the policies which have elevated him to power.

Toughening up on crime and immigration are set to occur alongside a liberalising of the labour market that spells the end of France's 35-hour working week.

But Mr Sarkozy, who the Associated Press news agency reports is set to take over from 74-year-old outgoing president Jacques Chirac on May 16th, faces another round of elections before he can put his reformist agenda into place.

His UMP party must win next month's French parliamentary polls to strengthen his reforming mandate.

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