France's Sarkozy eyes reshuffle ahead of election

French President Sarkozy, facing a widespread backlash over unpopular reforms, said he plans to reshuffle his government.

France's Sarkozy eyes reshuffle ahead of election

 

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, facing a widespread backlash over unpopular reforms, said on Wednesday he plans to reshuffle his government, a move that would bring in fresh blood ahead of a presidential poll in 2012.

Sarkozy told a meeting of his centre-right UMP party there would be a government reshuffle in October, according to sources who were there.

"(Sarkozy) spoke of a new phase at the start of the new session," one of the sources said, adding that the French president also mentioned reorganising the UMP.

Sarkozy, once regarded as a shoo-in, has seen his ratings drop to near all-time lows after scandals over ministers' expenses and amid growing discontent over pension reform plans, which have sparked nationwide protests.

Former prime minister Dominique de Villepin has launched a new centre-right party which could split the conservative vote and highlight divisions in Sarkozy's party.

The head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, may also pose a potential threat to Sarkozy and is widely viewed as favourite to head the Socialist party slate.

Meanwhile, one of Sarkozy's top cabinet talents -- Labour Minister Eric Woerth, mastermind of the pension reform -- has also become embroiled in a scandal over the finances of Europe's richest woman, Liliane Bettencourt.

Woerth's wife used to help manage Bettencourt's accounts and he has been accused of a conflict of interest for having failed to order a tax investigation into the elderly billionaire when he served as budget minister from 2007 to March 2010.

Woerth has denied any wrongdoing.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 01 Temmuz 2010, 00:43
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