Emmanuel Macron names conservative Edouard Philippe as new French prime minister

Elias Hubbard
May 25, 2017

Macron has pledged to fight corruption after tax evasion and other scandals hit the previous government.

Nicolas Hulot is a prominent environmental campaigner and documentary journalist whose television series promotes environmentalism while showing off handsome landscapes.

French President Emmanuel Macron, attends a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel following talks in Berlin, Germany, Monday, May 15, 2017.

Among the conservatives said to be in the running are Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, Bruno Le Maire and Thierry Breton.

In addition to appointing 11 women in the list of 22 ministers and choosing members from civil society and the government, Mr. Macron's cabinet picks are being seen as an attempt to transcend the left-right divide, a theme he reiterated through his campaign. At least 24 Socialists are now campaigning for re-election under the banner of Macron's Republic on the Move party.

Macron needs a parliamentary majority to push through his ambitious plans to loosen France's strict labour laws, boost entrepreneurship and reduce class sizes in tough neighbourhoods.

The choice of Philippe is aimed at drawing more defectors from The Republicans, in the same way as Macron's decision not to put up an REM candidate in Manuel Valls' constituency pulls the Socialist former prime minister closer, and makes it hard for a divided left to re-unite.

Macron's staff had initially said the government would be named late Tuesday but the presidential palace now says in a statement the announcement will come Wednesday afternoon.

While the head of France's main employers group Medef, Pierre Gattaz, said Macron's first days in office were "faultless", the head of the country's largest union, the CFDT, warned him not to "go at it with an axe" to carry out his planned business-friendly reforms.

Macron is the conservative Merkel's fourth French president in almost 12 years as chancellor.

Other key figures instrumental in Macron's sensational victory in this month's election were given senior roles, with the Socialist mayor of Lyon, Gerard Collomb, named as interior minister while centrist ally Francois Bayrou becomes justice minister.

The Socialist party labeled the lineup a right-wing government that would "break up public services" and contained too many seasoned veterans to bring any real renewal.

He said he hoped to restore French values and applauded voters for resisting the wave of populism in choosing him over far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

Conservatives whose names are being floated include LR lawmaker Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, as well as Thierry Breton, who was economy minister under conservative President Jacques Chirac.

She had never been a lawmaker in the French parliament and has no government experience - both attributes that could be either a strength or weakness for Macron's fledgling government. Macron and Merkel have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the European Union and Merkel strongly applauded Macron's election.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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