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PARIS (AP) _ Socialist French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin announced his resignation Monday, a widely expected step that clears the way for newly re-elected President Jacques Chirac to name a successor.

The presidential Elysee Palace made the announcement after the two men met briefly in Chirac's office. The resignation of Jospin and his leftist Cabinet allows Chirac to name a new government that will swiftly announce plans to crack down on rising crime, a key issue during the campaign.