Tough task ahead for new premier

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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 as Prime Minister on Monday.

Mr 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 gipsies, as interior minister.

He took over yesterday 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.

Mr Valls was expected to name a new government imminently.

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