Manuel Valls has been named prime minister after the Socialists lost out in local elections, while the Front National made gains.
Recent polls suggest French President Emmanuel Macron is highly popular. His clever political mix appeals to both progressives and conservatives, even drawing approval from some right-wing National Front supporters.
Former French PM Manuel Valls has promised to avoid deep public spending cuts, in a pitch to voters ahead of France's presidential election. Valls faces six other candidates for the Socialist Party nomination.
The decision is the latest legal headache for the French former president. Sarkozy allegedly discussed giving a judge a luxury job in Monaco in exchange for details of an election campaign probe.
The French premier has declared his candidacy for the 2017 presidential election. As a result, he will step down from his current role.
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