France Names New Prime Minister

PARIS (AP) -- France's president has named 51-year-old Socialist Manuel Valls as the country's new prime minister.

In a prerecorded televised speech, Francois Hollande said Valls, the former interior minister, would lead a "combative government."

Hollande admitted "it's time to start a new stage," just 24 hours after his Socialists suffered heavy losses in nationwide municipal elections.

Valls, who is consistently voted France's most popular Socialist in opinion polls, is considered to be part of the right-wing side of the party and is also relatively popular with French conservatives.

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PARIS (AP) -- France's government has resigned ahead of a reshuffle that comes 24 hours after President Francois Hollande's Socialists suffered losses in nationwide municipal elections seen as a referendum on his leadership.

Disappointment with the Socialists' handling of the economy drove many voters to conservative or anti-immigrant far-right candidates in the elections Sunday.

Hollande is expected to announce a new prime minister Monday evening, after having met with outgoing Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

Hollande hopes the reshuffle will boost the government's popularity.


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