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France awaits new government after shock resignation

French President Francois Hollande attends a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of Paris from Nazi occupation outside the police headquarters in Paris on August 25, 2014France’s prime minister was set to appoint a new cabinet Tuesday after tendering his government’s resignation amid a row over economic policy, plunging the country into a fresh political crisis. As desperately unpopular President Francois Hollande battles to overcome splits in his ruling Socialists and revive the stagnant French economy, Manuel Valls was expected to announce the make-up of his team in the afternoon. The shock resignation on Monday was seen as a bid to restore order after a weekend of sniping from economy minister Arnaud Montebourg who attacked France’s economic direction and the country’s main European ally Germany. Montebourg, a left-wing firebrand who is no stranger to controversy, made it clear he would not be part of the new team and launched a hefty broadside at the policies of austerity he said had catapulted France and Europe into the worst economic crisis since the 1929 Depression.

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