February 3, 2016 / 9:10 PM / 4 years ago

France's Hollande sounds out environmentalist to join government in reshuffle

French President Francois Hollande waits for a guest at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, January 28, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande has sounded out an environmentalist to join the government in a cabinet reshuffle widely expected soon, a source said on Wednesday.

Europe 1 radio said Hollande had offered an enlarged Environment Ministry to the former television presenter and climate change adviser to Hollande, Nicolas Hulot.

Newspaper Liberation said Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who is widely rumored to be preparing to leave to head the Constitutional Council, would be replaced by current Environment Minister Segolene Royal, Hollande’s former partner with whom he has three children.

A source close to Hulot told Reuters that Hollande and had been in contact with him. “The offer exists, that’s for sure,” the source added.

With 15 months to go before the next presidential election, a reshuffle could open a new chapter in Hollande’s five-year term after his ratings have returned to record lows due to high unemployment and divisions among his own Socialists.

A senior Socialist party official said earlier on Wednesday that nothing had been decided yet on the reshuffle and that all options were still on the table.

Hollande’s leftist justice minister, Christiane Taubira, resigned from the government last week over his proposal to strip convicted bi-national terrorists of French citizenship as part of a constitutional reform.

Government spokesman and Farm Minister Stephane Le Foll said on Sunday that if there were a ministerial reshuffle it would not be until Feb. 10, when lawmakers are due to vote on the constitutional reform.

Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry; Additional reporting by Elizabeth Pineau; Writing by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Alison Williams

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