Hollande Names New French PM after Sharp Socialist Losses

Manuel Valls French Interior MinisterFrench President Francois Hollande has named former Interior Minister Manuel Valls as France’s new prime minister, following the ruling Socialist party’s steep losses in nationwide municipal elections. Valls will replace unpopular Jean-Marc Ayrault, who has tendered the government’s resignation.

In a prerecorded televised speech, Hollande said it was time for France to enter a new phase and pledged Valls would lead a “combative government.”

Hollande alluded to some key policy changes: an announcement of new unspecified tax cuts and confirmation of a plan to cut 50-billion euros in government spending.

The former interior minister is consistently voted France’s most popular Socialist in opinion polls and is considered part of the right wing of the party. Valls has drawn comparisons with former conservative French President Nicolas Sarkozy and is also the most popular Socialist among France’s conservative right. He is the Socialists’ hardliner on immigration and security and has held very controversial stances while serving as interior minister.

The Elysee said the appointment of the new ministers would not happen before Tuesday and they will be officially selected by Valls, with the president’s approval.

This report compiled with information from the Associated Press. Image courtesy of AP.