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
Super BowlAfter Katy Perry madness it's back to The Independent's live coverage of Super Bowl 49!
News
See what Twitter had to say about the first half of the Super Bowl
News
people
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

The super-rich now live in their own Elysium - they breathe better air, and eat better food, when they're not making beans on toast for their kids

The super-rich now live in their own Elysium

They breathe better air, eat better food, take better medicine
A generation of dropouts failed by colleges

Dropout generation failed by colleges

£800m a year wasted on students who quit courses before they graduate
Entering civilian life 'can be like going into the jungle' for returning soldiers

Homeless Veterans appeal

Entering civilian life can be like going into the jungle
Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

Fifty Shades of Grey director on bringing the hit to the screen
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch