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New French PM forms government as mammoth challenges await

France's new Prime Minister Manuel Valls faced a delicate balancing act Tuesday as he set about forming a new government tasked with reviving the economy and reining in public finances. President Francois Hollande nominated the tough-talking interior minister to the post on Monday after the ruling Socialists suffered a drubbing at municipal polls, replacing incumbent Jean-Marc Ayrault who had headed up a deeply unpopular government.

Hollande makes Valls PM after election debacle

The full line-up of France's new government is set to emerge Tuesday after President Francois Hollande reacted to an electoral rout for his Socialist Party by naming popular Interior Minister Manuel Valls as prime minister. Valls, 51, replaces the dismissed Jean-Marc Ayrault at the helm of the new government which will not include the two Green ministers who were part of the outgoing administration. The Green party said it was "awaiting clarification" of the direction of Valls' government before deciding on further cooperation.

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LONDON, March 31, 2014 (AFP) - We will file the following videos: -- TOP WORLD NEWS -- + UKRAINE Coming up: PARIS: French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius meets with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. RAW. TBA Filed over past 12 hours: KIEV: Interim Ukrainian president Oleksandr Turchynov is to oversee creation of a new 'national guard', made up of volunteers in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea and military build-up to the east. RAW. VID612668_EN

France's new PM: tough-talking and popular

France's new Prime Minister Manuel Valls is the most popular Socialist politician in the country, or at least he is with almost everyone except a sizeable chunk of his own party. As approval ratings plummeted for the rest of France's Socialist government over the course of its first two years in office, the good-looking interior minister was almost alone in defying the trend.

France's Hollande names new PM, pledges tax cuts after poll rout

By Mark John and Emmanuel Jarry PARIS (Reuters) - President Francois Hollande named centrist Interior Minister Manuel Valls as his new prime minister on Monday, replacing Jean-Marc Ayrault who quit after ruling Socialists were trounced in local French elections. Hollande vowed to pursue cuts in labor charges for business but also promised tax cuts to boost consumer spending, insisting that EU partners take his reform efforts into account in judging whether France had respected commitments to Brussels.

France's new PM: tough-talking and popular

He has feuded with fellow ministers and is regularly brushed with controversy, but France's new Prime Minister Manuel Valls is one of the country's most popular politicians. As approval ratings plummeted for the rest of France's Socialist government over the course of its first two years in office, the good-looking interior minister was almost alone in defying the trend.

French reluctantly accepting far-right party into mainstream

The French are gradually accepting the far-right National Front (FN) into the mainstream even if many are still hostile to the anti-immigration party that made historic gains in local elections, analysts said Monday. The FN took the mayorship in at least 11 towns and won over 1,400 seats on municipal councils in Sunday's polls. That represented an unprecedented result and a remarkable turnaround in the fortunes of a party that, beset by internal divisions at the time, only claimed around 60 seats in the last local vote in 2008.

France's Hollande to name Manuel Valls as new PM

French President Francois Hollande is set to promote popular Interior Minister Manuel Valls to prime minister as part of a cabinet reshuffle, sources told AFP Monday. Hollande, who was due to address the nation at 1800 GMT, has decided to replace the current Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault after his Socialist Party suffered humiliating losses in local elections on Sunday, sources close to the government said. sm-far/am/ach/jmm

France's Hollande to address nation after local elections: source

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande will make a televised statement on Monday at 8:00 pm local time, a source in his office told Reuters, a day after a stinging defeat for the ruling Socialist party in local elections. Sunday's runoff in municipal elections saw 155 towns swing to the center-right UMP party, with the far-right National Front claiming 11, dealing a major blow to the credibility of Hollande, whose popularity is already at record lows.

France awaits Hollande's next move after poll debacle

"A rout", "A slap", "A kick up the backside": the headlines in France's newspapers on Monday left President Francois Hollande in no doubt about the scale of his Socialist Party's humiliation at the ballot box. After a "Black Sunday" that saw both the far-right National Front (FN) and the mainstream opposition make historic gains in nationwide local elections, Hollande was under intense pressure to react swiftly and decisively with a shakeup of his beleaguered government.
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