Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

New French Prime Minister Described himself as a Man of the Right

New French Prime Minister Described himself as a Man of the Right

After the independent Macron trounced establishment parties in the presidential election, the government is expected to be carefully balanced between left and right, women and men, new faces and political heavyweights.

France will be the European Union's only member with nuclear weapons and a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council once Britain leaves the bloc.

Mr Philippe, who was appointed on Monday (May 15), is the mayor of the port city of Le Havre and also a member of Parliament from the centre-right Republicans party.

"We don't want to be the biggest opposition force, we want to have the majority to govern the country", said Baroin.

"This shows Europe is the priority", a French diplomatic source said of the rare inclusion of Europe in the foreign ministry portfolio, although also sounding a warning note on his suitability for the role.

Thirty-two percent of 4,600 registered voters questioned planned to vote for Macron's party, it said.

French President Emmanuel Macron waits to welcome UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, Tuesday, May 16, 2017.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, outgoing Socialist Defence Minister and a close friend of ex-President Francois Hollande, was named Foreign Minister and Minister for Europe.

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President Emmanuel Macron might have announced his new balanced government but it's far from set in stone.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, whom President Macron named on Monday, will lead the government, at least until the parliamentary elections scheduled for June.

In a morning radio interview, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe dismissed a suggestion that the mixed government was an electoral gimmick, saying "progress" was its unifying theme.

One diplomat said the changes in president and ministers would enable a review of Paris' positioning on key issues such as the crises in Syria and Libya. To that end, Nicolas Hulot, a popular environmentalist, was named as ecology minister, a job that includes overseeing energy matters. Annick Girardin, who was the Minister for Public Services under Hollande, is now the Overseas Territories Minister.

The divide-and-conquer tactics by the centrist Macron, elected on May 7, are spreading alarm in the Socialist party and the conservative Republicans (LR), both of which are still licking their wounds after their presidential defeat.

But the list of those tipped to be part of the government included veteran Socialists, as well as conservatives, centrists and newcomers to French politics.

The delay was to allow checks to be made on the "tax status" of potential ministers and any possible conflicts of interest, the presidency said in a statement.

Macron has pledged to fight corruption after tax evasion and other scandals hit the previous government. "The choice of Le Maire is also probably aimed at sending a strong signal to Germany about Macron's commitment to reform".

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