Hundreds arrested after Sarkozy victory in France
May 7, 2007 - 4:12:33 PM

Paris, May 7 - French police arrested 270 people as scattered protests took place throughout the country after the victory of conservative Nicolas Sarkozy in Sunday's presidential election, the office of the national police - said Monday.

In addition, 367 cars were torched after the announcement of Sarkozy's victory late Sunday, the DGPN said, but noted that 'there was no large-scale urban violence in the ghettoes,' as had been feared.

According to Sarkozy's campaign manager, Claude Gueant, the President-elect will take rest for a few days after the strenuous campaign and 'to reflect on the composition of his government.'

Three people have been widely cited as likely to be named prime minister under Sarkozy: former education minister Francois Fillon, current Labour Minister Jean-Louis Borloo and current Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie.

Sarkozy will be sworn in as French president on May 16. His term is for five years.

Final results of Sunday's election, as provided by the interior ministry, show Sarkozy receiving 53.06 percent of the vote, while Socialist Party candidate Segolene Royal received 46.94 percent.

The magnitude of the defeat has sunk the Socialist Party into a crisis ahead of vital legislative elections, set for June 10 and 17.

The head of the party, Francois Hollande, who is also Royal's partner, warned on France2 television that he would 'not tolerate' any internal 'settling of scores.' The legislative elections should enable a 'counter-force' to Sarkozy to emerge, he said.

However, Hollande's position at the head of the party seems precarious, and he could pay the price for the unsuccessful campaign waged by Royal and her staff.

Late Sunday, former finance minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn, whom Royal defeated in the bitter Socialist presidential primary fight, said he was available to help the party recover from the setback.

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