France's new president moves quickly on first full day in office

Claudine Rigal
Mai 19, 2017

The government will be formally presented on Wednesday after Mr Macron's office delayed the announcement, initially expected on Tuesday, while authorities check the tax records and backgrounds of potential ministers, in an effort to prevent any potential conflict of interest.

Mr Macron's main task, however, is choosing ministers who will form his new government after he named low-profile, centre-right Edouard Philippe as prime minister on Monday.

The mayor of Le Havre since 2010, Mr Philippe previously worked as a director of public affairs for French nuclear group Areva from 2007-2010 and as a lawyer from 2004-2007 with New York City-based global law firm Debevoise and Plimpton LLP.

Le Drian will also be supported on the Europe portfolio by junior minister Marielle De Sarnez, a centrist European expert who has been a member of the European parliament since 1999.

High-profile conservative Bruno Le Maire was the pick for the Finance Ministry.

Nicolas Hulot, a highly-popular former wildlife documentary TV presenter, seen as the Gallic David Attenborough, was named Environment Minister.

His appointment in Macron's government is a signal to right-wing voters ahead of June parliamentary elections.

Before Macron's rise, Francois Bayrou was France's most well-known centrist politician and a three-time failed presidential candidate. He was the first major Socialist politician to decide to back Macron's presidential bid.

The 69-year-old Jean-Yves Le Drian (John-Eve Le DREE-on) was France's defense minister during the five-year term of former President Francois Hollande. He remains one of the longest-running mayors in France, but has never held a top government post. The decision to put Sylvie Goulard, a European expert, into his old role instead, further emphasises Macron's European push.

Muriel Penicaud, the new labor minister, previously worked for food corporation Danone and French telecommunications group Orange.

Macron wants European militaries to work together more, and for eurozone countries to share a budget and tax rules. Macron has pledged to fight corruption after tax evasion and other scandals hit the previous government.

An advocate of closer European Union integration, Macron backs a "multi-speed" Europe, an idea that has earned growing support in Germany and other European Union countries since Britain voted to leave the bloc.

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