French President Francois Hollande has approved a new cabinet just days after the ruling Socialist Party suffered losses in local polls.

The new government, which was named on Wednesday after discussions between new Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Hollande, includes Hollande’s ex-partner Segolene Royal as minister of environment and energy.

Laurent Fabius and Jean-Yves Le Drian have kept their positions as foreign affairs and defence ministers in the new cabinet.

Former Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici has left the government and the portfolio has been split between two Socialists. Michel Sapin will take charge of finance, and Arnaud Montebourg will be in charge of industry and economy.

Segolene Royal, the newly appointed environment and energy minister, ran an unsuccessful campaign for the presidency in 2007, losing to Nicolas Sarkozy.

The appointments were announced in a presidential statement read out on the steps of Hollande's Elysee Palace.

Hollande sacked Jean-Marc Ayrault, the former prime minister, on Tuesday, replacing him with Valls.

Hollande's Greens coalition partners refused to take part in Valls' government in protest at his socially conservative stances on issues such as immigration, a move which could weaken support for economic reforms in parliament.

The government shake-up was expected after the Socialist party suffered big losses in nation-wide voting for mayors and city counsellors last week. Voters turned against the Socialists amid disillusionment with Hollande's inability to keep campaign promises to bring down record unemployment and turn around the economy.

Source: Agencies