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François Hollande

François Hollande (born 12 August 1954) is a French politician who defeated Nicolas Sarkozy to become the 24th president of France on May 6, 2012. Prior to winning the presidency, Hollande served as the First Secretary of the French Socialist Party from 1997 to 2008 and as a Deputy of the National Assembly of France for Corrèze's 1st Constituency since 1997. He was the Mayor of Tulle from 2001 to 2008, and was the President of the Corrèze General Council from 2008 to 2012.

Known for his socialist or left-leaning stand, Hollande proposed a crackdown on tax loopholes, a 75 per cent tax on the rich (people with incomes over 1 million Euro), 60,000 new teaching jobs and a 20 billion Euro rise in government spending over his five-year term. The proposal directly challenges Germany's position that favours austerity policies to combat the persistent European debt crisis.

France faces a growing public debt, with the last budget surplus recorded in 1974. Standard & Poor's downgraded France's credit rating from its prime status in January. The move made front-page headlines across the country, which hasn't defaulted in over two centuries.

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