Hollande replaces his PM after heavy local elections losses

French president Francois Hollande has sacked his prime minister and replaced him with popular interior minister Manuel Valls after the Socialist party suffered major losses to the conservatives and far-right in the local elections.

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Hollande promises fresh start to right swinging voters

President Hollande of France sacked his Prime Minister, after a terrible set of results for their socialist party over the weekend. France's far-right National Front party triumphed at the polls, gaining its greatest election success to date.

The party won a number of new seats in wealthy towns across the south of the country.

More: French socialists pasted in polls as far-right make gains

In a televised speech, a humble Hollande promised voters he had heard their vote against his party, and promised to listen and "start a new state."

Europe Editor James Mates reports.

Hollande names Manuel Valls as new prime minister

French President Francois Hollande has named Interior Minister Manuel Valls as the new prime minister.

Manuel Valls. Credit: Reuters

In a prerecorded televised speech Hollande said Valls would lead a "combative government". Hollande also said it was "time to start a new state" after his Socalist party suffered heavy losses in elections.

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Hollande may have 'major reshuffle' after poll drubbing

French president Francois Hollande is preparing a "major reshuffle" of his ministerial team after a poor performance from his Socialist Party in local elections

Mr Hollande is set to make a televised statement this afternoon, with his prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault among those who may lose out.

Francois Rebsamen, a Socialist senator and long-time ally of Mr Hollande, said: "I don't see how there won't be a major reshuffle."

French socialists pasted in polls as far-right makes gains

Marine Le Pen, France's far-right National Front political party leader, gestures as she delivers a speech. Credit: Reuters\Pascal Rossigno

French voters have dealt a severe blow to Francois Hollande's Socialist government in local elections.

The anti-immigration far right, which claims that France's large Muslim population is "Islamicising" the nation, made solid advances, fulfilling National Front promises to begin building a grass-roots base.

Socialist leaders conceded defeat in the final round of the voting seen as a referendum on unpopular President Hollande, who was expected to reshuffle the cabinet in an effort to give his government a boost.

Anne Hidalgo becomes first female mayor of Paris

Anne Hidalgo (C), current Paris city deputy mayor and Socialist Party candidate in the mayoral election, celebrates. Credit: Reuters\Benoit Tessier

France's ruling Socialist party looks set to retain control of Paris as their candidate, Anne Hidalgo becomes the city's first female mayor.

President Francois Hollande's party is heading for a big defeat in local elections as the centre-right UMP claims victory. The far-right Front Nationale party of Marine Le Pen are also tipped to make several gains.

Hidalgo set to become the first female Paris mayor

A minor consolation for President Francois Hollande's ruling Socialists on a dreadful night in the French local elections is the anticipated victory in the Paris town hall for their candidate Anne Hidalgo, who will become the city's first female mayor.

ITV News Europe Editor James Mates has tweeted:

TV exit polls placed Ms Hidalgo on 54.5 per cent, which will see her retain control of the French capital's town hall for the Socialists.

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Polls suggest French far right fail to win biggest prize

Polls suggest the French far-right National Front party of Marine Le Pen has failed to win biggest prizes - the city of Perpignan.

Front Nationale tipped to gain two southern towns

Front Nationale leader Marine Le Pen has celebrated her party's success with new mayor of Henin-Beaumont, Steeve Briois. Credit: Reuters/Pascal Rossignol

Exit polls suggest candidates backed by France's far-right Front Nationale party are on track to claim victories in the southern towns of Beziers and Frejus in the local elections.

The FN already made a breakthrough in last week's first round of voting by winning power in the northern town of Henin-Beaumont.

Early gain for Front Nationale in French local elections

France's far-right Front Nationale party appears to have claimed a second town in the second round of local elections in which they are expected to make significant gains.

With polls in some areas already closed, ITV News Europe Editor James Mates has tweeted:

The anticipated success in Beziers contrasted with a defeat elsewhere for the party of Marine Le Pen, which took an outright victory in the northern town of Henin-Beaumont in the first round.

Despite that success, the governing Socialists - the party of President Francois Hollande - are braced for big losses while the centre-right UMP is expected to do well.

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