News / Europe

Hollande Replaces French PM After Big Election Losses

French Interior minister Manuel Valls, left, and  President Francois Hollande, after the weekly cabinet meeting in Paris, March 19, 2014.
French Interior minister Manuel Valls, left, and President Francois Hollande, after the weekly cabinet meeting in Paris, March 19, 2014.
VOA News
French President Francois Hollande has replaced his prime minister the day after the ruling Socialist Party sustained steep losses in municipal elections across the country.

The French leader Monday named the country's popular interior minister, Manuel Valls, as the new premier, replacing Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who resigned after the electoral setback.

Voters across France rejected Socialist candidates in Sunday's elections, the first major balloting since Hollande was elected in 2012. His government is deeply unpopular, with a weak French economy, high unemployment and a decline in living standards for many people.

The Socialist Party lost control of 155 towns and cities to candidates from the main center-right opposition party, and another 11 to the far-right FN party.

FN rebranded itself as more than an anti-immigrant political force and took control of more than 1,500 municipal offices, its best-ever performance. France's main opposition party, the Union for a Popular Movement, won a string of major towns once considered Socialist strongholds.

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