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France

Juppé named French foreign minister in cabinet reshuffle

Reuters

French President Nicolas Sarkozy reshuffled his cabinet Sunday night for the second time in three months, with Alain Juppé replacing Michèle Alliot-Marie as foreign minister. Juppé’s former defence portfolio has gone to Gerard Longuet.

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Sarkozy appeared on French television Sunday night to announce the changes to key government posts. But he made no reference to Alliot-Marie, who hours earlier sent him a resignation letter.

The former foreign minister had come under criticism for her ties to Tunisia's ousted regime.

French politics no stranger to scandals

In her resignation letter, she complained that the criticism had targeted her family, and said she did not wish to compromise France's international reputation.

Longuet, who is senate president of the ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), has taken over the defence post, which had been widely tipped to go to Brice Hortefeux, who has been appointed presidential adviser, leaving the position of interior minister to the former secretary general of the Elysée, Claude Guéant.

The reshuffle comes just three months after Sarkozy’s previous cabinet overhaul – and just a year ahead of presidential elections.

His opponents say getting rid of Alliot-Marie won't fix the deeper problems with France's foreign policy, which they claim lie with Sarkozy himself.

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