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France’s Hollande: Trump win ‘opens period of uncertainty’

Hollande offered only brief congratulations to the billionaire, in which he stressed Washington’s key role in world affairs

Published: Updated:

French President Francois Hollande, who once said Donald Trump made him want to retch, warned Wednesday that the Republican billionaire’s stunning victory in the US election “opens a period of uncertainty.” In an initial televised reaction, Hollande offered only brief congratulations to the Republican billionaire, in which he stressed Washington’s key role in world affairs.

But the French leader later penned Trump a letter, saying he was keen to “immediately” start discussions on a number of key issues. “What is at stake is peace, the fight against terrorism, the situation in the Middle East, it’s economic ties and the preservation of the planet,” he wrote.

“On all these subjects, I would like to immediately start discussions with you in light of the values and interests which we share,” he said, hailing Trump’s conciliatory victory speech. “We must find answers which allow us to overcome fear but also to respect the principles which bind us: democracy, freedom, respect for every individual,” he wrote.

Hollande has been an outspoken critic of Trump, telling journalists earlier this year that the Republican’s excesses “make you want to retch”.

‘France is not the US’

“The French never vote like the Americans,” a politician told a rally for presidential favorite Alain Juppe on Wednesday as France wondered if it would be the next country to prove the opinion polls wrong.

Juppe, mayor of the southwest city of Bordeaux and a former prime minister, has topped the polls for months. Surveys predict he will win both a primary later in November to be the center-right’s candidate and the presidential election in six months.

But after pollsters failed to predict US voters would make Donald Trump their country’s 45th president, like their British colleagues who got the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the EU wrong, France has started bracing for a possible surprise next year.

“Juppe is ahead in polls and he will also win. The French are not like the Americans, we're not crazy,” Juppe supporter Mbacoye Balde, 35, told Reuters at the Bordeaux rally.