President Hollande unveils moderate new Cabinet

Francois Hollande
Paris, May 16: The newly elected French President Francois Hollande today unveiled a government comprising mainly moderate Socialists and longtime allies while his new Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault vowed to work quickly to put the country back on its feet.

Prime Minister Ayrault said, Hollande's new government would waste no time and hold its first meeting tomorrow, which is a public holiday, to address the ongoing economic crisis. "What's essential, and that's why the Cabinet will meet to enable France to get back on its feet in a just way," Ayrault said.

Hollande tapped former Prime Minister Laurent Fabius, 65, as the Foreign Minister. Fabius, who had served as the Prime Minister under France's last Socialist President Francois Mitterrand from 1984 to 1986, will take over French diplomacy at a time when Paris's relations with its European neighbours are going through a testing phase.

Besides, with anxiety running high over the fate of the Eurozone, Hollande's choice of Pierre Moscovici, 54, a former Minister for European Affairs, as the Finance Minister also seems to be aimed at addressing the European debt crisis. Moscovici was Hollande's campaign chief during the race against Nicolas Sarkozy, whom he defeated in the recent presidential elections.

Notably absent from the line-up, however, was Socialist leader and former Labour Minister Martine Aubry, 61, a key figure in the party's old-guard left wing, who said she would not join the Cabinet after being passed up for the premiership.


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