HUFFINGTON POST
03/31/2014 02:20 pm ET Updated Apr 01, 2014

Manuel Valls Named New Prime Minister Of France

ALAIN JOCARD via Getty Images

PARIS (AP) -- France's president has named 51-year-old Socialist Manuel Valls as the country's new prime minister.

In a prerecorded televised speech, Francois Hollande said Valls, the former interior minister, would lead a "combative government."

Hollande admitted "it's time to start a new stage," just 24 hours after his Socialists suffered heavy losses in nationwide municipal elections.

Valls, who is consistently voted France's most popular Socialist in opinion polls, is considered to be part of the right-wing side of the party and is also relatively popular with French conservatives.

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