Monday, 10 August, 2020


New prime minister named in France as Emmanuel Macron launches reshuffle

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe gives a press conference in Evry south-east of Paris Tuesday French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe Resigns
Bennie Garza | 03 July, 2020, 17:21

President Emmanuel Macron is seeking to open a new chapter for the two remaining years of his term that will focus on efforts to relaunch the French economy deeply hit by the coronavirus crisis.

French President Emmanuel Macron Friday named top-level civil servant Jean Castex as the next Prime Minister of the country as part of a government reshuffle. Castex was a "social Gaullist", the official said in reference to the more interventionist, socially minded wing of France's centre-right.

According to an opinion poll conducted in late June, over half of French residents want the current prime minister, Edouard Philippe, to keep his position as the head of the cabinet after the municipal elections, the second round of which took place on Sunday.

Investors will be watching to see if Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who has overseen reforms to liberalise the economy and spent big to keep companies like Air France and Renault afloat during the crisis, keeps his job.

In an interview given to several local newspapers on Thursday, Macron said he was seeking a "new path" to rebuild the country.

Macron and Philippe dined together on Wednesday and met on Thursday.

"I will need to make choices to lead (the country) down the path", he said.

The government issued a 460 billion-euro emergency package through a state-funded partial activity scheme, tax cuts and other financial aids for businesses, and Macron needs to adapt his policies as France's economy is expected to shrink by 11% this year. The recent government reshuffling is said to be part of Macron's pledge to reinvent his administration, after facing brutal losses in the nationwide municipal elections last month.

The elections revealed surging support for the Green party and underlined Mr Macron's troubles with left-leaning voters. His La Republique en Marche party failed to win a single major city, depriving the president of a local power base ahead of 2022.

Cardboard boxes were delivered to the prime minister's offices minutes after the government stepped down.

Edouard Philippe Philippe has served as prime minister of France for three years.

Philippe, a rightwing politician who never joined Macron's Republic on the Move party, easily won his bid to become mayor of Le Havre.

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