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Bernard Cazeneuve: New French Prime Minister

The French president, François Hollande, has named Bernard Cazeneuve to head the French government as prime minister until a presidential election next May.

Cazeneuve, who was interior minister, replaced Manuel Valls, who resigned on Tuesday morning after announcing his bid to become France’s next president.

Shortly after the appointment, Bruno Le Roux was named as Cazeneuve’s replacement at the interior ministry. Le Roux, 51, is president of the socialist group – including the EELV party (formerly the Greens) – in the Assemblée Nationale. It is his first government appointment.

Cazeneuve, 53, one of Hollande’s most loyal lieutenants, was generally unknown in France until named government spokesman in 2012. After the economy minister, Jérôme Cahuzac, was forced to resign in a finance scandal, the president appointed Cazeneuve to replace him.

He was promoted to the interior ministry – the French equivalent of the Home Office – in 2014, and became a household name after the series of terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists over the last two years, including those in Paris and Nice, that killed 250 people.

His sober, discreet appearance and calm pronouncements made him appear a safe pair of hands for the grieving republic.

Cazeneuve is a lawyer by training, has been an MP since 1997 and was mayor of Cherbourg between 2001 and 2012, when he gave up the position to join the government. He has two children.

France will hold legislative elections in June after the two-round presidential election in April and May.

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