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Socialist Party leader Aubry agrees not to serve in new government

Socialist Party chief Martine Aubry said Wednesday that she has "amicably" agreed not to serve on the cabinet of new President François Hollande. Aubry, who will remain party leader, lost to Hollande in the Socialist primary last year.

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AFP - French Socialist Party chief Martine Aubry, the architect of the country's 35-hour work week, told AFP Wednesday she had agreed not to join the government under new Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

Aubry, a former labour minister, had been touted as a frontrunner but she said she had agreed with President Francois Hollande that there was not a place for her in a government led by Ayrault.

"In such a set-up, we agreed, amicably, that there was no sense in my being in government," Aubry said. "There was no proposal and no negotiation."

Secretary general:

   Pierre-René Lemas

Chief of staff:

   General Benoît Puga

Cabinet director:

   Sylvie Hubac

Political adviser:

   Aquilino Morelle
 

"What's certain is that I will campaign for the parliamentary election. All three of us agreed that, under the circumstances, where I can be most useful is at the head of the Socialist Party to be close to Jean-Marc Ayrault," she said.

An aide to Aubry earlier told the Le Monde newspaper that she saw "no sense" in being a member of Hollande's cabinet if she were not to be the prime minister.

Aubry, who is mayor of the northern city of Lille, lost to Hollande in the Socialist primary last year to choose the party's candidate to run against incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy.

She said she would play a key role in the campaign for France's two-round parliamentary election on June 10 and 17.

"I will do everything possible to help Jean-Marc. It was the president's choice. It was not a surprise to me because I knew that Francois Hollande would choose someone very close to him," Aubry said.

She also said she would not be a candidate to remain Socialist chief at the next party congress in October.

Ayrault took over the prime minister's post on Wednesday, a day after Hollande's inauguration, and was to announce a government line-up later in the day.
 

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