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French government under threat after election blow, amid anger over economy, unemployment

  • APTOPIX France Elections-1.jpg

    A child posts his mother's ballot, during the municipal elections in Pau, southwestern France, Sunday, March 30, 2014. Voters in Paris and across France are going to the polls Sunday in municipal elections seen as a referendum on embattled President Francois Hollande's first two years in office. (AP Photo/Bob Edme)The Associated Press

  • APTOPIX France Elections-2.jpg

    A father, right, stands with his child in a booth of a polling station, during the municipal elections in Paris, Sunday March 30, 2014. Voters in Paris and across France are going to the polls Sunday in municipal elections seen as a referendum on embattled President Francois Hollande's first two years in office. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)The Associated Press

  • France Elections-3.jpg

    France's far right National Front leader Marine Le Pen delivers a speech at the party headquarters in Nanterre, west of Paris, Sunday, March 30, 2014. French pollsters say the governing Socialists lost ground to the conservative right in municipal elections Sunday that are seen as a referendum on embattled President Francois Hollande and certain to lead to a government shakeup. Estimates showed the anti-immigration far right adding several towns to its victory bucket after a symbolic win in the northern town of Henin-Beaumont in last week’s first round. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)The Associated Press

French President Francois Hollande is preparing a probable shake-up of his unpopular government after his Socialist Party suffered losses in nationwide municipal elections.

Disappointment with the Socialists' handling of the economy drove many voters to conservative or anti-immigrant far-right candidates.

Hollande is having lunch Monday with Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, whose job is on the line and said himself that the elections were "a defeat for the government." His government has failed to fulfill its promises to cut France's more than 10 percent unemployment and boost growth, which was just 0.3 percent last year, according to figures released Monday.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls is among names circulating as a possible replacement prime minister if Hollande decides to fire Ayrault. Changes are especially expected in the Finance Ministry.