Sarkozy allies named in key posts in reshuffle

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Sarkozy allies named in key posts in reshuffle

Sarkozy allies named in key posts in reshuffle
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The long-awaited French government reshuffle has brought few surprises.

The prime minister Francois Fillon remains head of a team that maintains President Sarkozy’s closest allies in key positions, 18 months before the next presidential election.

Out go some prominent figures such as the centrist Jean-Louis Borloo, who had been tipped as a possible prime minister.

Out too goes the socialist foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, marking the end of Sarkozy’s openness towards political opponents.

The scandal-hit labour minister Eric Woerth leaves the government.

Instead a former prime minister Alain Juppe makes a dramatic return, expected to add political weight to Sarkozy’s anticipted re-election campaign.

Christine Lagarde will continue to attend world summits as finance minister.

Two more Sarkozy allies stay in the team: Michèle Alliot-Marie takes over as foreign affairs minister; the hardline Brice Hortefeux, known for his crackdown on immigrants, remains interior minister.

The president has named a team to go back on the offensive after the drama of the recent strikes and protests over pension reform.

The new law has been passed, but at a severe cost to Sarkozy’s personal approval ratings, which have hit an all-time low.