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New Head of French Ruling Party Resigns Finance Ministry


The new head of the ruling political party in France has resigned his post as finance minister, one day after taking over the party.

Nicolas Sarkozy submitted his resignation Monday in Paris, fulfilling a promise made to his main political rival within the Union for a Popular Movement party, President Jacques Chirac.

Mr. Chirac's office immediately announced that Agriculture Minister Herve Gaymard will succeed Mr. Sarkozy in the finance minister position.

Party members on Sunday overwhelmingly elected the new chief to replace Chirac ally Alain Juppe. Mr. Juppe was forced to resign earlier this year after a conviction for illegal party financing.

Mr. Sarkozy is expected to run for president in 2007. That could pit him against Mr. Chirac, who has not decided whether to run for re-election.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.