European Elections

If you were trapped under a mountain of law outlines all weekend, you probably missed out on a couple of historic events in French and Russian politics.

In a run-off election on Sunday, May 6th, François Hollande defeated incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy for President of the French Republic. Sarkozy’s defeat is significant, considering he was the first French president since 1981 not to win a second term in office. In addition, Hollande is the first Socialist to win the French presidency since the 1980s. Followers of European politics will certainly be paying attention to how Hollande interacts with the rest of the European community, especially German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (Source: Francois Hollande to set France on new course after win, BBC.com)

In Russia, Vladimir Putin was inaugurated as President of Russia on Monday, May 7th. This will be Putin’s third term in office as President. He previously held the office from 2000 – 2008 and was barred from a third term by the Russian Constitution. During his time between presidencies, he acted as Prime Minister from 2008-2012 under President Dmitry Medvedev, a position he also held briefly from 1999 – 2000 under President Boris Yeltsin. Since leaving the presidency, the term lengths where amended from 4 year to 6 years. Because there are no limits on the number of terms, just the number of successive terms, Putin will be eligible to run again in 6 years. If Putin completes his current term of 6 years, he will have been the longest serving Russian leader since Joseph Stalin. (Source: Vladimir Putin inaugurated as Russian president, BBC.com)

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