FRENCH President Francois Hollande reshuffled his government last night in the wake of disastrous local elections which saw the rise of the far right National Front.
In a major U-turn the Socialist leader veered away from the left wing of his party, appointing a Blairite moderniser as his new Prime Minister.
Manuel Valls had been interior minister in a government led by Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who quit yesterday, effectively taking the blame for the party’s poor showing over the weekend.
The National Front achieved its best showing in 20 years, taking 11 towns, while centre-right UMP also bounced back to seize 155 from Hollande’s party.
The President also promised to cut employment taxes and consumption taxes in a new bid to boost economic growth.
“I have understood your message, it is clear,” Hollande said in a TV address to the nation. “Not enough jobs and too much unemployment. Not enough social justice and too many taxes. I say it once again: we have to get our country back on the right track.”