Nicholas Sarkozy has won the French election. Segolene Royal conceded defeat (I love how the loser concedes defeat; it's one of the few classy moments left for a politician) shortly after polls closed and it became apparent that she had not overcome the 10 point deficit she faced coming into Sunday. Make no mistake, the press will have a field day making Sarkozy out to be a frevent right-winger, and dress up Royal's socialism to no end. Even though Royal is a die-hard socialist, and socialism is the reason why the French economy, once the envy of the West, is now one of the weakest, no one in the media would dare point out the obvious failings of someone so close to their own ideology. C'est la vie - salut, Sarko!
I don't know if Sarkozy will be able to implement many of the reforms he promised during the election, but he has been given a clear mandate by the French public to do so. This is a France much different from the France of even 10 years ago. You could consider the rejection of the EU Constitution and the election of a conservative (fiscally definitely, socially somewhat) a very clear statement that France has had enough of socialist experiments and the nanny state.