Paris: French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday named Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve after Manuel Valls resigned to seek the Socialist nomination in next year`s Presidential Election.
Valls had on Monday announced that he would seek to run for president next year. Hollande himself announced last week that he would not seek a second term.
Cazeneuve will essentially be a caretaker prime minister ahead of the election in May.
The widely-respected former lawyer was named to the post after President Francois Hollande accepted Valls`s resignation early Tuesday.
Cazeneuve, 53, has served in various government roles, including budget minister and minister in charge of European affairs, before becoming interior minister in April 2014.
Bruno Le Roux, leader of the Socialists in the lower house of Parliament, will take over the interior portfolio.
As interior minister since April 2014, Cazeneuve has had to deal with a spate of deadly militant Islamist attacks that have killed more than 230 people since January 2015 and overseen a period of emergency rule imposed in their wake.
He was previously Europe minister and budget minister.
A lawyer by training, Cazeneuve is nicknamed `the Cardinal` by his own staff and by detractors on account of a cool and sometimes frosty manner.
Polls so far suggest the Left faces humiliation in next year`s Presidential Election after five years in power. Hollande himself is more unpopular than any French president in over half a century.
Announcing his candidacy on Monday, Valls vowed to take on the conservative Republicans and the far-right National Front led by Marine Le Pen.
(With Agency inputs)