• French PM resigns after punitive local votes

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    PARIS: French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault resigned on Monday after the Socialists’ poor score in local election, paving the way for a new team expected to bring a fresh breath to the struggling Cabinet, local media reported.

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    Citing the Premier’s office, the news channel BFMTV said Ayrault presented his resignation to French President Francois Hollande under pressure of rising calls for a new head of Matignon able to lead a fighting government against unemployment and unhealthy finances.

    The report added that Interior Minister Manuel Valls will replace the veteran Socialist.

    Socialists’ losses in two-round municipal elections triggered calls for a shake-up and to inject new blood in a government weakened by series of policy mishaps of his members.

    More than 70 percent of French people asked for new prime minister, a BVA poll showed.

    In a brief statement posted on the Elysee website, beleaguered Hollande will give a televised address at 8:00 pm (1800 GMT) in a fresh attempt to defend policy and regain voters’ confidence by unveiling the list of his new Cabinet.

    The latest reshuffle in the French Cabinet was on June 21, 2012, when the Socialists won an absolute majority in the lower house of parliament in the last legislative elections. (PNA)

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