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French government resigns ahead of reshuffle

By The Associated Press

This article was published March 31, 2014 at 12:02 p.m.

PARIS — France's government resigned Monday and President Francois Hollande was expected to name a new Cabinet just 24 hours after his Socialists suffered heavy losses in nationwide municipal elections.

Disappointment with the Socialists' handling of the economy drove many voters to conservative or anti-immigrant far-right candidates in the elections Sunday, and Hollande hopes the reshuffle will boost the government's popularity.

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

One of Hollande's closest friends, Socialist Mayor of Dijon Francois Rebsamen, told RTL radio that popular Interior Minister Manuel Valls would be named prime minister.

Ayrault conceded that the elections were "a defeat for the government." The administration has failed to fulfill its promises to cut France's more than 10 percent unemployment and boost growth, which was just 0.3 percent last year, according to figures released Monday.


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