French President Francois Hollande

Paris - Ten days after the party's rout in local elections, France's governing Socialists (PS) were set for a leadership change Wednesday after party chief Harlem Desir was given a government job.

Desir, who has been the Socialist Party's First Secretary since October 2012, was made a junior minister for European affairs in the government of new prime minister Manuel Valls.

The appointment is seen as offering him a dignified exit from the PS leadership after the party's historic defeat in the March 30 polls.

He was one of 14 junior ministers appointed on Wednesday, completing a government reshuffle which saw Valls replace Jean-Marc Ayrault as premier of a revamped “fighting” cabinet last week.

Paris deputy Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, who was defeated by Desir for the party leadership in 2012, is tipped to succeed him in the PS post.