Moderates to get key posts in Hollande's government

Moderates to get key posts in Hollande's government

President Francois Hollande’s government is set to be dominated by moderate social democrats after party leader Martine Aubry, overlooked for the prime minister’s role, said on Wednesday she would not be in the cabinet.

Aubry, daughter of former European Commission president Jacques Delors and on the left of the Socialist Party, who was once tipped to be its candidate in the presidential election, made it clear she was unhappy to accept a consolation post.

Jean-Marc Ayrault, a veteran social democrat, took over as prime minister and was due to announce his cabinet later on Wednesday. Another moderate, Michel Sapin, is tipped to become finance minister, a post he held almost 20 years ago and critical in dealing with the eurozone debt crisis.

Another option is Hollande’s presidential campaign director, Pierre Moscovici, an English speaker who was junior European affairs minister in a previous Socialist-led coalition.

The Finance Ministry post has long been expected to go to Sapin, a long-time friend of Hollande, who wants to move away from blanket austerity which he says risks plunging the euro zone into deep recession and introduce measures to stimulate growth.

Moscovici, another possible contender, is a graduate of the elite ENA civil service school, has a good command of English and enough clout to represent France on the world stage. He is also tipped as a possible successor to Foreign Affairs Minister Alain Juppe, if that job does not go to Laurent Fabius.

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