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France

French president names new cabinet in ‘last chance’ reshuffle

President François Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls on 26 August 2014.
President François Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls on 26 August 2014. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

French President François Hollande named a new cabinet on Tuesday after an open row led to the removal of top dissident voices against austerity cuts.

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The first government of Valls, which was appointed less than five months ago, dissolved on Monday after former economy minister Arnaud Montebourg made strong criticisms over the weekend of Hollande’s policies.

The top ministers in the government, namely foreign affairs and finance, stay in their posts, but the surprise is the appointment of a former Rothschild banker and former Hollande advisor Emmanuel Macron, as economy minister.

Analysts say his appointment indicates that the president wants to have a clear position on economic policy after recent criticism from the left wing of the Socialist Party.

Macron was Hollande's economic advisor until this spring where he had pushed the president towards implementing a more liberal financial policy.

The new minister has the task of revving up the French economy, which registered zero growth in the first six months of 2014.

Other changes include the appointment of Najat Vallaud-Belkacem as education minister, the first woman to hold that position.

Hollande’s office on Tuesday said the president was seeking renewed “clarity” with his new government.

Many say the reshuffle was Hollande’s last chance at saving his five-year term and a bid to wrest back control of the political agenda.

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