INTERNATIONAL: French PM Jospin opts for Colmou as latest PR man

PARIS: French prime minister Lionel Jospin has named Yves Colmou as

his latest communications adviser.



Colmou replaces Manuel Valls, who on 18 March was elected the mayor of

Evry, a southern suburb of Paris.



Colmou's remit is to oversee all PR and communications surrounding the

prime minister and his image on a day-to-day basis.



Another large part of his brief is to liaise closely with the prime

minister's communications staff, headed by Bernard Candiard and Philippe

Guibert.



Valls is widely held responsible for Jospin's election as prime minister

in 1997, and his relatively good showing in opinion polls since

then.



Sources in the prime minister's office say Valls will continue to advise

Jospin, but on a purely private and personal basis.



It is believed that Jospin will announce his candidacy for the French

presidential elections, which are to be held in the spring of 2002,

later this year.



According to a BVA-Paris Match poll published recently, Jospin would

defeat incumbent president Jacques Chirac by 52 per cent to 48 per cent

if elections were held now.



Industry rumours say Jospin partly encouraged Valls to go for the

mayorship of Evry in order to make him more accessible to Jospin, who,

it is thought, wants to organise his campaign outside of the confines of

his official residence, the Matignon Palace.



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