French Prime Minister Francois Fillon and his government have resigned as the country prepares for a long-awaited cabinet reshuffle.
"The president has accepted this resignation… thus putting an end to Mr. Francois Fillon's functions," a statement by the office of French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Saturday.
However, the move is a formality, because the government should resign before a new cabinet is formed, AP reported.
While Fillon is still an option for reappointment as the prime minister, several other candidates, including Minister for Energy Jean-Louis Borloo and Minister of Economic Affairs Christine Lagarde, may have a chance to take the post, pundits say.
Even though France's next presidential election is some way off, Sarkozy, whose public support has slid below 30 percent, is scrambling to put a new face on his cabinet following tumultuous weeks of protests against his unpopular plan to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62.
In June, Sarkozy announced his plan to change the government after the ratification of the pension system reform plan. The plan became law on Wednesday, a day after Sarkozy endorsed it.
But opinion polls show that between two-thirds and three-quarters of the French population oppose the reforms.
And President Sarkozy's refusal to back down has resulted in unprecedented civil unrest in France over the past two months.
At the height of the protests in October, all of the country's 12 oil depots were shut down, causing fuel shortages and transport problems.
Sporadic violence also occurred across France as people clashed with the police, leading to the arrest of more than 1,000 protesters.