Connect to share and comment

Jean-Marc Ayrault takes over as prime minister of France

Jean-Marc Ayrault has taken over as the new prime minister of France and begun work on forming a new cabinet.

Jean marc ayraultEnlarge
Outgoing French Prime Minister Francois Fillon (L) bids farewell to his successor Jean-Marc Ayrault (R) during a handover ceremony on May 16, 2012 at the Hotel Matignon in Paris. (FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

LONDON, UK – Jean-Marc Ayrault has taken over as the new prime minister of France, a day after François Hollande was sworn in as president.

Ayrault, a 62-year-old former German teacher, lawmaker and long-time Socialist ally of Hollande, bid farewell to outgoing prime minister François Fillon at the Matignon Palace in Paris before getting to work on forming a new cabinet, to be completed later today, the BBC reports.

More from GlobalPost: François Hollande sworn in as French president

Hollande has pledged that women will make up half of the cabinet, but one of the Socialist Party’s most experienced and well-known female politicians, party leader and former labor minister Martine Aubry, is said to have ruled out joining it as she saw “no point” in doing so if she could not be prime minister.

Ayrault, who like Hollande has never held a ministerial post, is mayor of Nantes and viewed as a consensus builder, according to the Agence France Presse.

Hollande has been attacked for naming him as prime minister, due to contradictions between the new president’s promise on the campaign trail not to work with anyone with a criminal record and Ayrault’s 1997 conviction for favoritism in the awarding of a local government contract in Nantes. The conviction was officially wiped from the record in 2007.

According to The Daily Telegraph, Hollande has vowed to restore the strength of the prime ministerial role after ex-leader Nicolas Sarkozy concentrated power in the presidency during his five-year-term, and also wants to involve parliament more in tackling the euro zone crisis after Sarkzoy assigned strategic control to unelected advisers. 

More on GlobalPost: How scary is Hollande, the new French president?

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/france/120516/jean-marc-ayrault-takes-over-prime-minister-france