Hollande Names Valls as New French PM

French President Fran├žois Hollande Monday named Interior Minister Manuel Valls as his new prime minister to lead a "combative government."

51-year-old Valls replaces Jean-Marc Ayrault in a government reshuffle triggered by a rout for his Socialists in local elections.

Addressing the nation in a short televised speech, Hollande  said a key objective for the new government would be pursuing the so-called "responsibility pact" to lower employers' costs in order to spur job creation.

French Socialist Party deputy mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo (center) smiles, as outgoing mayor Bertrand Delanoe, stands behind her, during a speech after results were announced in the second round of the French municipal elections in Paris on March 30, 2014. /AP French Socialist Party deputy mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo (center) smiles, as outgoing mayor Bertrand Delanoe, stands behind her, during a speech after results were announced in the second round of the French municipal elections in Paris on March 30, 2014. /AP
Meanwhile, Paris is getting its first female mayor, but her ruling Socialists took a beating in the second round of local elections in France.

Spanish-born Anne Hidalgo defeated her conservative rival to win the top job in the French capital.

Hidalgo perviously served as a deputy to the outgoing mayor, Bertrand Delanoe. She won with promises to build new public housing and make day care more affordable for Parisian families.

Many political observers regard the office of Paris mayor as a step towards the French presidency.

However, Hidalgo's Socialists did not fare well in many other French towns and cities, losing ground to the anti-immigrant and anti-European Union National Front party.

The elections were seen as a referendum on the unpopular president, Fran├žois Hollande.

Voters are angry about the sluggish economy and high unemployment.

VOA News / Apr. 01, 2014 07:58 KST