French president Nicolas Sarkozy replaced foreign minister Michele Alliot--Marie last night after a storm of criticism at home in the wake of the Middle East and North African turmoil. Her replacement is defense minister and former prime minister Alain Juppé.
Here's more, just in from Bloomberg:
"Sarkozy’s address last night and Cabinet shuffle follow a troubled month. His approval ratings fell to a record low and he was criticized by opposition parties, French diplomats and members of his own party for not firing Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie after it was revealed her Christmas holiday in Tunisia overlapped with the beginning of anti-regime protests.
Alliot-Marie quit yesterday following criticism over her Jan. 11 statement during the Tunisian revolt that her government was ready to provide advice to local police on crowd control. Alliot-Marie, who served as a minister for the past nine years, was also criticized for accepting two flights in a private plane from an associate of then-Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
"France’s voice had to be heard in the world … and Michele Alliot-Marie’s voice wasn’t audible anymore,” Fillon said. Polemics about Alliot-Marie ”became dangerous for France,” he said."