President Francois Hollande named former Interior Minister Manuel Valls as France’s new Prime Minister on Monday, just 24 hours after his Socialists suffered heavy losses in nationwide municipal elections.

Mr. Valls, who is consistently voted France’s most popular Socialist in opinion polls and replaces Jean-Marc Ayrault, is considered part of the right-wing of the party.

In a pre-recorded televised speech, Mr. Hollande said it was time for a France to enter a “new phase” and pledged Mr. Valls would lead a “combative government.”

Mr. Valls is the Socialists’ hardliner on immigration and security and has held very controversial stances while serving as Interior Minister.

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