Sarkozy names a new more right-wing French cabinet

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President Nicolas Sarkozy appointed a reshuffled cabinet on Sunday holding on to most of the najor players from the outgoing team but shifting his government more to the right.

Under a strengthened Prime Minister Francois Fillon, Finance Minister Christine Lagarde and Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux remained in their former jobs, while several more Sarkozy loyalists were promoted.

Meanwhile, centre-right Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo -- the number two figure in the outgoing government and until recent days a frontrunner to become prime minister himself -- announced he was stepping down.

Popular Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, a former Socialist, was replaced by Gaullist Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, and right-wing former prime minister Alain Juppe returned to government to take over defence.

Along with Kouchner, centre-right former defence minister Herve Morin also left office -- along with the cabinet's best known ethnic minority figures, outgoing cities minister Fadela Amara and sports minister Rama Yade.

© 2010 AFP

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