PARIS – France's new prime minister is taking office and diving straight into a huge and thankless challenge: bringing back investors, jobs and hope to Europe's second-biggest economy.
Socialist President Francois Hollande, in need of a boost for his image and his country, named Manuel Valls on Monday as prime minister.
Valls is an energetic, popular figure seen as the most right-leaning politician in the Socialist leadership. He angered leftists by leading a tough line on crime and on Roma, or Gypsies, as interior minister.
Valls takes over Tuesday from Jean-Marc Ayrault, who struggled to keep his ministers in line and to persuade the French that his government was making the right economic decisions.
Valls is expected to name a new government imminently, with changes particularly expected in the Finance Ministry.