Mr. Hollande, the first Socialist French president in nearly two decades, has vowed to pursue efforts initiated by Mr. Sarkozy to reduce the government’s budget deficit. But he said he would ask wealthy households to contribute more by raising taxes to 75% from 41% for people earning more than ┚¬1 million ($1.3 million) a year. On the international front, Mr. Hollande has said one of his first decisions would be to fast-track the withdrawal of French soldiers from Afghanistan. – Wall Street Journal

ANGELA MERKEL’S AUSTERITY leadership is slowly but surely being rebutted in elections that prove people are getting sick of policies that aren’t remedying euro-zone troubles, with François Hollande’s tax the richest plan to fight the budget deficit now about to be taken out for a spin.

With a victory by a roughly 52%-48% margin over conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in the second and final round of the election, Mr. Hollande won a solid mandate to challenge German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has imposed spending cuts as the main remedy to repair the public finances of heavily indebted European countries. Mr. Hollande, who has never held a national-government position, was planning to speak to Ms. Merkel over the phone later Sunday, an aide said.

But he said he would ask wealthy households to contribute more by raising taxes to 75% from 41% for people earning more than ┚¬1 million ($1.3 million) a year. On the international front, Mr. Hollande has said one of his first decisions would be to fast-track the withdrawal of French soldiers from Afghanistan.

When you think of Pres. Obama’s strategic punt in Afghanistan, which puts us meddling in that country until 2024, with Mitt Romney even worse on this subject, you get an idea of just how out of touch the political elite remains in this country.