A near-record French voter turnout resulted in a decisive victory for conservative Nicolas Sarkozy, which comes at a time when Washington looks to lose its closest ally in the War on Terror when Britain's Tony Blair steps down. Sarkozy is decidedly pro-American and looks to address the French 'welfare state,' promising to "restore the value of work, authority, merit and respect for the nation."
Sarkozy's defeated bitter rival, Socialist Segolene Royal, said, “Something has risen which will not stop. Let us keep intact the energy and joy . . . of this campaign.” But as she spoke those words, riots ensued in Paris and cities throughout France. The rioters, described mostly as youths, had burned over 730 vehicles and injured 78 police officers. Nearly 600 were reportedly arrested. The violence spilled over into a second night.