French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve was appointed as the new prime minister on Tuesday after Manuel Valls resigned to seek the Socialist nomination in the presidential election, the presidency said.
“He’s a strong personality, with experience of state affairs,” said a source in the president’s entourage, commenting on the appointment to AFP.
Cazeneuve oversaw the official reaction to the string of terror attacks that have hit France. More than 230 people have been killed in attacks in the country over the past two years.
Valls, while talking about running for President, said he wanted to ‘give everything for France’. He was speaking days after President Francois Hollande announced he would not be running.
If successful, Valls will be set to face Francois Fillon and Marine Le Pen in the first round of the presidential election in April.
The now former Prime Minister is seen as a divisive figure on the left, after forcing labour reforms through parliament and endorsing controversial bans last summer on the Islamic ‘burkini’ swimsuit.
“My candidacy is that of conciliation,” Mr Valls promised.