President François Hollande to fire PM after local election rout with far right on the move

Marine Le Pen’s National Front will run town halls in at least two large cities for the next six years but Hollande’s Socialists avoided the drubbing they feared in municipal elections

Paris

President François Hollande, reeling from calamitous results in local elections, is expected to fire his Prime Minister tonight in attempt to give a new start to his stumbling presidency.

The change of government will be announced when Mr Hollande addresses the nation on on live television at 8pm French time (7pm BST). According to French TV news channels, Mr Hollande will announce that he has asked the energetic, ambitious interior minister, Manuel Valls, 52, to replace Jean-Marc Ayrault as Prime Minister.

Other appointments will be announced on Tuesday. 

Ségolène Royal, Mr Hollande’s former partner, and the mother of his four children, is expected to return to national government as part of the reshuffle.

As the dust settled after the second round of municipal elections on Sunday, Mr Hollande’s  Socialist Party found itself ejected from power in at least 140 cities and towns today . The centre-right Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP) was the biggest winner but the far-right National Front consolidated its first round breakthrough and will take control of 11 towns nationwide.

Although most of these towns are small, this will give Marine Le Pen's anti-EU, anti-immigration, anti-free trade and pro-Russian party its biggest ever beach-head in local government. The previous high-water mark for NF control of town-halls was, briefly, four in the late 1990s.

Of the 11 new NF towns, only three are of any size, Fréjus and Béziers on the Mediterranean coast and Hénin-Beaumont in the industrial north.

FN candidates also triumphed in  Mantes-la-Ville, west of Paris,  Hayange and Villars-Cotterêts in the  north and Beaucaire, Le Luc, Le Pontet and Cogolin in the South. The Far Right also won a "district town hall" in a racially-mixed northern part of the city of Marseille.

Anne Hidalgo, the Socialist candidate, is the new Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, the Socialist candidate, is the new Paris Mayor The Left hung onto power in several of France's largest cities - Lyon, Lille, Strasbourg, Nantes, Rennes and Dijon. It lost control of scores of others to the UMP, including the vibrant city of Toulouse in the south west and Caen in lower Normandy and a raft of towns traditionally run by the Left, including Belfort, Reims, Saint-Etienne, Roubaix, Quimper and Pau.

Swing voters and the middle classes have been angered by tax rises, especially the abolition of President Nicolas Sarkozy's "tax holiday" for overtime work. Poorer and left-wing voters have been infuriated by Mr Hollande's move in January to a more market-oriented, budget-cutting economic policy - even if it has not been implemented yet. Everyone is angry with Mr Hollande's failure to deliver his promised "reversal of the trend" of rising unemployment by the end of last year.

A change of Prime Minister will not mean another change of direction, the Elysée Palace insists. Mr Hollande is determined to push ahead with his new, more market-oriented - he prefers the phrase Social Democratic - approach to economic reform.

The new Prime Minister will, however, be expected to find some way of responding to the anger of the left-wing of the Socialist Party by devising tax breaks and other concessions for the less well off.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor