Sarko’s End

He just conceded to Hollande. Europe's sharp turn to the left continues as austerity deepens:

Mr Hollande's win, backed by the wholesale rejection of mainstream parties in Greece, the collapse of the Dutch government, protests in Spain and mayhem elsewere, tilts the balance of the European debate sharply away from austerity. Yes the difference between him and Nicolas Sarkozy in policy terms is marginal, but perception is everything. The Right has taken a hit this week, the Left is delighted. This will change the dynamic of European politics in far-reaching ways. All eyes now will be on Angela Merkel and her fight with the SPD. What chance that even the Iron Chancellor will have to compromise now? Where will that then leave Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne?

Live updates here. The victory was a narrow but decisive one: 52 – 48 percent.