Mr Hollande is expected to choose Aurelie Filipetti, a 38-year-old up-and-comer in the Socialist Party, for culture minister, while spokesman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, 34, is likely to fill a junior post fighting discrimination.
The cabinet line-up could yet be changed after parliamentary elections next month depending on how well the Left fares and whether it needs to bring in coalition partners. Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy both placed plenty of women in their cabinets who later lost their jobs in reshuffles or when the president resorted to male cronies.
Mr Ayrault, a moderate who has led the Socialists in Parliament for more than a decade, speaks fluent German which will be considered an asset at a time when the relationships with Berlin will be all-important. He is however seen as even more mild mannered than the president, and takes his holidays in a VW camper van.
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