Sarkozy Taps Close Adviser to Be PM

Ex-Chirac official is also president's jogging buddy
By Greg Atwan,  Newser User
Posted May 17, 2007 9:56 AM CDT

(Newser) – Nicolas Sarkozy named chief campaign adviser Francois Fillon his prime minister today, replacing firebrand Dominique de Villepin. Fillon, a right-of-center senator who directed an overhaul of France's pension system as a Chirac administration official, will lead Sarkozy's effort to institute reforms in employment and welfare laws. Fillon, whose wife is Welsh, is an "avowed Anglophile," the Telegraph reported.

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Fillon publicly allied himself with Sarkozy during a long-running feud with outgoing president Jacques Chirac in 2005. His perilous post will be critical in securing parliamentary victories for Sarkozy's UPM party next month, and his diplomatic style will be vital as the new government tackles the reforms Sarkozy promised on the campaign trail. (Read more Nicolas Sarkozy stories.)

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