Interior Minister Cazeneuve named French PM after Valls quits

Interior Minister Cazeneuve named French PM after Valls quits

PARIS – Agence France-Presse
Interior Minister Cazeneuve named French PM after Valls quits French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve was appointed as the new prime minister on Dec. 6 after Manuel Valls resigned to seek the Socialist nomination in the presidential election, the presidency said.

Cazeneuve, who has overseen the security forces’ reaction to a string of jihadist attacks that have killed more than 230 people in France over the past two years, will take control of the Socialist government until legislative elections in June.

He was named prime minister after Valls presented his resignation to President Francois Hollande early Dec. 6.

Hollande’s office said Valls’ resignation had been accepted.

“The President of the Republic has appointed Bernard Cazeneuve as prime minister and asked him to form the new government,” the statement said.

Valls, who had been prime minister for the past two and a half years, announced on Dec. 5 he would step down to try to rally the fractured French left ahead of a primary in January.

In a combative speech, 54-year-old Valls vowed to take the fight to the conservative opposition and the far-right National Front, who are both leading the Socialists in election polls.

“I am a candidate for the presidency of the Republic,” Valls said.

“My candidacy is one of reconciliation,” said Valls, saying he wanted to “bring together” the bitterly divided French left following Hollande’s announcement last week that he would not be a candidate.

“The time has come to go further in my [political] commitment,” Valls said.

The leftwing primary takes place on Jan. 22 and 29, 2017.

However, polls shows that while Valls would win that contest, he would finish behind far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and the rightwing candidate Francois Fillon in the first round of the presidential election in April, failing to make the runoff.