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Exit Sarkozy, enter Hollande: Socialist sworn in as French president

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French President Francois Hollande waves from his car as he drives down the Champs Elysees in Paris after his inauguration on May 15, 2012.

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French President-elect Francois Hollande arrives for his inauguration on May, 15, 2012 at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

Reuters reports — Francois Hollande became French president on Tuesday in an official handover ceremony that makes him the country's first Socialist leader since Francois Mitterrand.

Outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy greeted Hollande on the steps of the Elysee presidential palace, and took him inside to transfer nuclear codes and other secret files ahead of a short swearing-in ceremony attended by around 400 guests.

Hollande was due to fly to Berlin later in the day for his first meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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Hollande is awarded "Grand Maitre" in the Order of the Legion of Honor, from chancellor of France's National Order of the Legion of Honor, General Jean-Louis Georgelin.

Mehdi Fedouach / AFP - Getty Images

Hollande, right, walks on the red carpet towards his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy prior to the start of the investiture ceremony.

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Sarkozy, left, welcomes his successor Hollande upon his arrival at the Elysee Palace.

Jacques Brinon / AP

Hollande's partner Valerie Trierweiler, right, shakes hands with Sarkozy's wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy before the presidential handover ceremony.

Jacky Naegelen / Reuters

Journalists work as a man sweeps the red carpet in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace.

Patrick Kovarik / AFP - Getty Images

Sarkozy and his wife leave the Elysee Palace after the formal investiture ceremony.


Hollande stands up in his car as he rides in the rain up the Champs Elysees.

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