New prime minister to take over on Thursday

16th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 16, 2007 (AFP) - France's new prime minister, most likely the moderate Francois Fillon, is expected to take over on Thursday from the outgoing head of government Dominique de Villepin, sources said.

PARIS, May 16, 2007 (AFP) - France's new prime minister, most likely the moderate Francois Fillon, is expected to take over on Thursday from the outgoing head of government Dominique de Villepin, sources said.

Villepin on Tuesday presented his resignation to Jacques Chirac ahead of the handover of power to President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has pledged to usher in an era of economic reform.

A ceremony is scheduled for 11:00 am (0900 GMT) at Matignon, the official residence of the prime minister in Paris, sources said Wednesday.

Sarkozy is expected to name Fillon, 53, his loyal political adviser and a senator from his governing UMP party, as prime minister and the full government lineup is expected to be announced on Friday.

Villepin, who led the government for just under two years, is to welcome his successor at Matignon and will formally introduce him to the senior staff.

Fillon is seen as a calm and competent politician who made his mark by successfully shepherding a long-overdue reform of France's pension system when he served as social affairs minister from 2002 to 2004.

The 15-member government is expected to include prominent Socialist and humanitarian Bernard Kouchner, founder of the Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) charity, as foreign minister.

Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie could be named interior minister while former prime minister Alain Juppe is expected to be at the helm of a new super-ministry for environment, sustainable development, energy and transport.

The popular former employment minister Jean-Louis Borloo is expected to become minister for economic strategy, business and employment, spearheading the drive for economic reform.

Sarkozy has promised to appoint seven or eight women to ministerial posts in the first French government to have gender parity.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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