President Francois Hollande has appointed a new prime minister, a day after his Socialist party suffered heavy losses in nationwide municipal elections.

In a pre-recorded televised speech, broadcast on Monday, Hollande announced that 51-year-old Socialist Manuel Valls would replace Jean-Marc Ayrault as prime minister.

Hollande said Valls, the country's former interior minister, would lead a "combative government" and that it was time to "start a new stage.''

"In the elections, you expressed your unhappiness and your disappointment. I have heard your message, it is clear," he said.

The Socialists lost control of more than 150 towns to the right or far-right, including Marine Le Pen's National Front.

The Socialist party retained control of Paris, with its candidate Anne Hidalgo becoming the French capital's first female mayor. 

Source: Agencies