France new government announced; women half of new ministers

France new government announced; women half of new ministers

Popular Socialist Jean-Yves Le Drian had barely left his post of defense minister under President Francois Hollande when he was handed the vital portfolio of foreign affairs and Europe.

His appointment of Le Maire as economy minister and fellow Republicans MP Gerald Darmanin as public accounts minister was seen as an attempt to neuter his right-wing opponents, still reeling from their defeat in the presidential vote.

Macron faced a tricky balancing act in naming his first government, with the 39-year-old needing to keep his allies happy while opening up positions to the rightwing Republicans party. Nicolas Hulot, the well-known host of a television show focusing on nature and the environment, was named minister for environment transition.

By appointing him, Mr Macron has passed over some loyal followers including Richard Ferrand, a former Socialist who was one of the first to join Mr Macron's cause a year ago and is secretary general of REM.

She also worked as a political adviser to Italian politician Romano Prodi when he was president of the European Commission from 2001 to 2004.

Several Socialist members of parliament have also joined Macron's cause and 21 LR members of parliament, including some party heavyweights and former ministers, issued a joint statement on Monday urging the party to positively respond to the "hand extended by the president".

Macron, who ran a staunchly pro-European campaign, kept with tradition by visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday in his first trip overseas after taking office.

The choice of Mr Philippe is aimed at drawing more defectors from The Republicans, in the same way as Mr 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. "He then supports Michel Rocard - just like Emmanuel Macron who took him as a model - before coming closer to the right two years later".

And there is, of course, a third: The selection of Philippe, who will form a cabinet this Tuesday (though how long it is in place will depend on June's elections), and who may pull from more moderate parts of the center-right party.

Elysee secretary-general Alexis Kohler made the announcement on the steps of the presidential palace.

A week after his victory over far-right leader Marine Le Pen in a tumultuous election, Macron will have a private meeting with Hollande at which he will be given the codes to launch France's nuclear weapons.

Like Macron, Bayrou has a penchant for the literary and is the author of over a dozen books on history and politics, including one on French King Henry IV, who was famed for his contribution to the arts.

The movement has already revealed a list of 428 candidates, many of whom who have never held elected office before.

Macron's trip to Berlin highlighted his pro-European politics and desire to work with Merkel on what he says must become "a more efficient Europe, a more democratic Europe, a more political Europe". He is to meet with European Council president Donald Tusk on Wednesday before announcing the new French government.

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