Manuel Valls new French prime minister after Socialist local election losses

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French President François Hollande has chosen centrist Interior Minister Manuel Valls as his new prime minister.

The 51-year-old has been compared to former British premier Tony Blair both for his pro-business ideas and some would say dashing style.

He replaces Jean-Marc Ayrault who quit after the ruling Socialists were trounced in local elections.

Speculation of a cabinet reshuffle mounted after Ayrault acknowledged he and his ministers bore part of the blame for Sunday’s defeat, which saw 155 towns swing to the centre-right UMP and the far-right Front National claim 11.

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