Top story: Francois Hollande beat French President Nicolas Sarkozy with just over 51 percent of the vote in a runoff election on Sunday, becoming the first Socialist to win the presidency since Francois Mitterrand left office in 1995. Sarkozy, the first French president since 1981 to not win a second term, will officially transfer power to Hollande on May 15.
"Europe is watching us, austerity can no longer be the only option," Hollande declared in a victory speech. The president-elect's emphasis on expanding a European Union fiscal compact to include pro-growth measures resonated with French voters, and news reports are casting Sarkozy as the latest European leader to be felled by popular anger over the handling of Europe's debt crisis.
But Hollande's position also puts him at odds with proponents of austerity such as Germany's Angela Merkel -- who congratulated Hollande but warned that the EU treaty was "not up for grabs" -- and raises concerns about how the euro crisis will be resolved. The results of the French election have already rattled financial markets.
Greek election: In parliamentary elections on Sunday, voters in Greece abandoned the country's two major parties in an implicit rejection of the harsh terms of bailouts by the European Union and International Monetary Fund. The center-right New Democracy party, which attracted the largest percentage of the vote, will now try to form a unity government.
- Vladimir Putin was inaugurated as president of Russia a day after Russian police clashed with anti-government protesters in Moscow.
- The presidential candidates for Serbia's ruling Democratic Party and the Serbian Progressive Party will most likely square off again in a runoff vote.
- Voters in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein toppled their center-right coalition government.
- Al Qaeda militants attacked a Yemeni army base after the Yemeni government said a Qaeda militant linked to the bombing of the USS Cole was killed in an airstrike.
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for early elections, which may now take place in September.
- Syria is holding parliamentary elections, which the government has characterized as a sign of its commitment to reform.
- A video posted on Islamist websites appeared to show U.S. hostage Warren Weinstein urging President Barack Obama to meet the demands of his captors in Pakistan.
- The United States is reportedly releasing high-level detainees in Afghanistan as part of negotiations with insurgent groups.
- Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng said he doesn't know when he'll be permitted to leave China for the United States, as Chinese officials continued to criticize Washington's role in Chen's case.
- The lawyers for five men charged with plotting the Sept. 11 attacks complained about the military tribunal process after a dramatic arraignment.
- Colombia's FARC rebels confirmed that they're holding a French journalist as a "prisoner of war" and suggested that he may be released soon.
- Mexico's presidential candidates participated in their first televised debate.
- The Democratic Republic of Congo claimed it had regained control of territory seized by warlord Bosco "Terminator" Ntaganda.
- Militants destroyed the tomb of a Muslim saint in the Malian town of Timbuktu.
- The African Union repeated its call for Mali's military junta to cede power.
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