France names Alain Juppe new foreign minister

February 27, 2011 23:13

France named veteran politician Alain Juppe as its new foreign minister on Sunday after Michele Alliot-Marie quit over a series of gaffes that damaged the government at a crucial time for North Africa relations.

Juppe, 65, is a conservative heavyweight and able technocrat who served as foreign minister and prime minister in the 1990s before being sidelined for links to a party financing scandal.

Also mayor of the wine-making city of Bordeaux, he was appointed defense minister in a November 2010 reshuffle aimed at bringing old-school experience into Sarkozy's government.

Juppe is a protege of former president Jacques Chirac, with whom he has had an almost father-son relationship since Chirac hired him in the 1970s to be his speech writer. It was Chirac who made Juppe prime minister, but once in the job he clashed with unions over pension reform.

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