May 7 - France's president-elect goes to work on a scooter and shuns the showbiz style that became the hallmark of his predecessor. Paul Chapman reports.
PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL France's first left-wing president in 17 years is very different from the man he's ousted from the post. Socialist leader Francois Hollande is a self-styled Mr Normal. He goes to work on a scooter. He shuns the showbiz style that's been the hallmark of his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy. He's nurtured a sharper look with a drastic weight-loss diet, new spectacles and a face more frequently tanned than in the past. Hollande is a seasoned local politician but has never held national office, leading some critics to accuse him of inexperience. He's a key figure in the central French region of Correze. His roots are in Rouen but his political rise began as an aide to Francois Mitterand. He emerged from the back office in 1997 to lead the socialists as first secretary. For 30 years he was in a relationship with fellow Socialist elite member Segolene Royal. The pair never married but they have four children together. They split shortly after Royal's unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 2007. The election campaign began in earnest in January. Hollande reached out to an electorate still suffering the impact of the global economic downturn in which bankers are widely seen as the bad guys. SOUNDBITE: FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, FRENCH PRESIDENT-ELECT, SAYING (French): "My real enemy doesn't have a name, or a face, or a party. He'll never run as president, and so he'll never be elected, although he does govern. My enemy is the world of finance." Though he's been keen to stress that he's not about to unleash a spending spree and that he will balance the books, Hollande is a classic social democrat at heart. On Monday financial markets were waiting for him to give clear signals on his policies and how hard he's likely to push back against German-led austerity. Paul Chapman, Reuters