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Sarkozy reshuffles cabinet after election rout

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Sarkozy reshuffles cabinet after election rout


French President Nicolas Sarkozy has reshuffled his cabinet after a crushing defeat in regional elections.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon keeps his job but elsewhere fresh blood has been brought in as the ruling conservative party licks its wounds.

Francois Baroin, close to ex-President Jacques Chirac, becomes Budget Minister. He replaces Eric Woerth, who is given the Labour portfolio, having won plaudits for his assured handling of complex dossiers.

Sunday’s polls marked the centre-right’s worst election defeat in more than half a century.

Martine Aubrey’s opposition Socialist-led alliance won a massive 54 percent of the vote.

For the left though the big battle is due in two years time when it will challenge Sarkozy for the presidency. And, while this success gives the Socialists a strong launch pad for their assault, the party still suffers divisions and has no obvious candidate.

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