PARIS, May 6 (UPI) -- Conservative Nicolas Sarkozy has won his bid to become the new president of France, partial election returns indicated Sunday.
The BBC reported Sarkozy had 53 percent of the vote, while Socialist Segolene Royal had 47 percent. The turnout was estimated at 85.5 percent, the highest for a French election in decades.
"I love France," Sarkozy said in claiming victory. "I love France and just as one loves someone who is very close to one."
Royal said she gave her campaign "all my efforts," and told her supporters "something has risen up that will not stop."
Sarkozy advocated a tough line on immigration and law and order, while Royal supported raising the minimum wage and creating subsidized jobs for young people.
More than 3,000 police were deployed in Paris for the second round election, which pitted the 52-year-old Sarkozy against Royal, 53, in a runoff to succeed 12-year incumbent Jacques Chirac.
Citing French media reports, The Washington Post said scattered violence was reported in many parts of France after the election results were announced.
Police fired teargas grenades into a group of several hundred masked demonstrators who threw rocks and other missiles at them, at the Place Bastille in Paris, where about 5,000 anti-Sarkozy protesters had gathered. There were also reports that police clashed with 2,500 protesters in Toulouse; 2,000 demonstrators in Lyon; and several hundred protesters in the towns of Rennes, Nates and Brest.