Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Seven African countries' economies at risk over Brexit decision

Read more

THE DEBATE

Britain votes out: What next?

Read more

#TECH 24

The 'fintech' revolution

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

A certified 'palace': How hotels strive for excellence

Read more

#THE 51%

In her own image: Women in Art

Read more

REPORTERS

World War I: When northern France was on German time

Read more

REVISITED

Video: Ugandan city still scarred by Lord's Resistance Army atrocities

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

#Brexit sparks a storm on social media

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Markets, pound plunge on Brexit vote

Read more

France

Hollande names Interior Minister Manuel Valls as France’s new prime minister

© Photo: AFP.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-04-01

French President François Hollande announced that he would replace Jean-Marc Ayrault (centre) with Manuel Valls (right) as prime minister in a cabinet reshuffle intended to mark a fresh start after Socialists took a beating in local elections.

Valls, known as a centrist within the Socialist Party, had been serving as interior minister.

Ayrault, who stepped down earlier today, started off as the most popular prime minister in 50 years, but soon became the target of blame for Hollande’s inability to effect the change he had promised while campaigning for office.

"It is time today to open a new chapter," Hollande said in his televised remarks, proceeding to note that the new cabinet would be tighter.

He also said there would be tax cuts by 2017.

The change-up at the top of Hollande’s administration was widely expected given the outcome of the municipal elections, the first nationwide vote since Hollande won the presidency in 2012.

The municipal results saw the National Front (FN) take control of 11 towns and claim more than 1,200 municipal council seats nationwide, its best ever showing at the grassroots level of French politics and a stunning vindication of leader Marine Le Pen's efforts to extend its appeal.

It was also a night to savour for France's main opposition, the centre-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).

The party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy performed strongly across the country, seizing control of around 140 towns and cities, including some once considered bastions of the left.

In a rare consolation for Hollande, the Socialists held on to control of Paris, where Anne Hidalgo, 54, will become the first female mayor of the French capital after a victory that was far more comfortable than anyone had expected.

Nationwide, the UMP and its allies took just under 46 percent of the votes cast, the Socialists and other left-wing parties 40.5 percent and the FN and some smaller far right groups just under seven percent.

The rout for the Socialists is widely seen as a punishment for Hollande’s failure to turn around the euro zone's second largest economy and to tackle an unemployment rate stuck at more than 10 percent.

These failures are thought to have aggravated anger over other issues, such as crime and immigration, and increased disillusionment with mainstream politicians of all stripes.

The Socialists were not helped by a turnout estimated at around 62 percent of the electorate, which is low by French local election standards and was largely explained by large numbers of left-leaning voters staying at home.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
 

Date created : 2014-03-31

  • FRANCE

    Valls goes from France’s ‘top cop’ to prime minister

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French human rights defender becomes far-right mayor

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Battered Socialists hold Paris as far right makes gains in local elections

    Read more

COMMENT(S)