At time of writing that new leader is expected to be Socialist Francois Hollande.
Just prior to the projected result being announced the Sarkozy camp were cheering whilst in Tulle Hollande's supporters thoughtfully watched and waited. Minutes later as the projected result was announced it was an about face.
The result is expected to be 52% for Hollande and 48% for Sarkozy. It may fuel the extreme right and Marine le Penn. Sarkozy tried last ditch attempts to appeal to the extreme right and in doing so probably lost some core voters. The extreme right though are gaining a footing once more in Europe which is a frightening prospect.
If Hollande becomes a successful President though the country could soon move to the left. He however has a mountain to climb. Like so many recent failed leaders Sarkozy has left a terrible mess for Hollande to address. Sarkozy's too close relationship with Germany's Angela Merkel may have played a part in his demise.
The final result has yet to be declared but media sources across the world are already reporting Francois Hollande as the new President of France. Congratulations to Mr Hollande and best wishes to France.
Update 8:40pm BST
Sarkozy has conceded and President Hollande has made a powerful speech. He has said that he will try to achieve the French dream of Liberty and Respect. He has promised an end to corruption and said that he will look back at the end of his first term to see if he has achieved his goals. No more Mr Ordinary, enter Mr Charismatic.
Tags: Hollande wins election, Sarkozy loses, New French President, extreme right, Socialists