French government resigns ahead of reshuffle
The French government stepped down on Saturday, paving the way for a long-awaited cabinet reshuffle by President Nicolas Sarkozy, dpa reported.
The president accepted the government's resignation, effectively ending Prime Minister Francois Fillon's term of office, a statement released on behalf of the premier said.
Analysts said a new head of government would be named Sunday at the earliest.
The reshuffle will be the fourth of Sarkozy's presidency. It was hinted at in the spring after the government's poor showing in regional elections.
The president has seen his popularity decline further over the introduction this month of a pension reform that increases the retirement age by two years.
Analysts said the president was hoping to use the reshuffle to polish his image prior to an expected bid for a second term in presidential elections due in 2012.
Fillon was expected to be asked to head the new government, which is also likely to see former premier Alain Juppe return to the cabinet as defence minister.