Sarkozy government resigns ahead of power handover
The government of outgoing French President Nicolas Sarkozy stepped down on Thursday ahead of the inauguration of president-elect François Hollande on May 15. Hollande is due to reveal the new government line up once he enters office.
REUTERS - The conservative government of outgoing French President Nicolas Sarkozy resigned on Thursday, paving the way for Socialist president-elect Francois Hollande to take office in a May 15 transfer of power ceremony.
Prime Minister Francois Fillon delivered a letter of resignation to the presidential palace, although he will keep handling day-to-day government business until Hollande is sworn in on Tuesday, Sarkozy’s office said.
Fillon, who took office on May 17, 2007, was the second-longest continually serving prime minister of modern France after George Pompidou, who headed the government from April 14, 1962 to July 10, 1968.
Hollande is due to reveal his government line-up after he is sworn in. He is then due to travel to Berlin within hours to launch his push to balance German-imposed austerity policies in Europe with pro-growth elements.
Hollande was elected on Sunday in a runoff vote with 51.6 percent of the vote to 48.4 percent for Sarkozy, whom voters punished for a stagnant economy, steadily rising unemployment and a showy and abrasive personal style.
Sarkozy’s defeat leaves his conservative UMP party on a back foot ahead of parliamentary elections on June 10 and 17 with the far-right National Front eager to pick up some of its voters on the right.