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4/18/08 France's Sarkozy tells feuding ministers to stop it

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France's Sarkozy tells feuding ministers to stop it

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has told his ministers to stick together, in an effort to end infighting that has dented government credibility at a time of low popularity ratings for Sarkozy. The ruling conservative UMP party is trying to recover from a poor showing in last month's municipal elections - partly blamed on Sarkozy's personal popularity slump - but the task has been complicated by ministers arguing in public. "The president, at the end of the cabinet meeting, called on all members of the government to be loyal, to show solidarity and to form a united team around him and the prime minister," government spokesman Luc Chatel told a news conference.

In the early days of his administration, the hyperactive Sarkozy was markedly more popular than his more discreet prime minister. But the latest poll, published on Sunday, showed 38 percent of those surveyed were satisfied with Sarkozy while Fillon's approval rating stood at 51 per cent.

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