Hollande received 28.6 percent of the vote in the first round. (© AP/dapd)
The Socialist François Hollande emerged the victor of the first round of the French presidential elections on Sunday, relegating incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy to second place. Extreme-right candidate Marine Le Pen came in third. The result highlights voter dissatisfaction with Sarkozy's crisis policies, commentators write, fearing that a victory for Hollande in the second round on May 6 could destabilise Europe.