The Resignation of French PM Philippe Could be a Godsend For Macron

Published July 6th, 2020 - 08:14 GMT
Former French prime minister and newly elected Mayor of Le Havre, Edouard Philippe, delivers a speech after his official election by the municipal council at the City Hall in Le Havre, northwestern France, on July 5, 2020. Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP
Former French prime minister and newly elected Mayor of Le Havre, Edouard Philippe, delivers a speech after his official election by the municipal council at the City Hall in Le Havre, northwestern France, on July 5, 2020. Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP
Highlights
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe resigned to allow the reshuffle to take place.

French President Emmanuel Macron has named Jean Castex as the new prime minister after Edouard Philippe resigned from the position.

Castex, who led France's lockdown reopening strategy, will take over amid a cabinet reshuffle as Macron tries to bolster his popularity for his final two years in office. 

Macron said he wanted to 'reinvent' his presidency last month following a disastrous defeat in nationwide municipal elections to the Green Party.

The Elysee Palace said outgoing prime minister Philippe would handle government affairs until a new cabinet is named in a statement this morning. 

During French cabinet reshuffles the prime minister tends their resignation ahead of the appointments.

More announcements are expected 'in the coming hours', a spokesman said. 

Philippe gained a large victory in the northern port city of Le Havre during local elections, making him the city's mayor.


Philippe, a rightwing politician who never joined Macron's Republic on the Move party, is considered to be more popular than the president, according to political analysts.

It comes after last month's elections revealed surging support for the Green party and underlined Macron's troubles with left-leaning voters.  

With only 21 months until the next presidential election, the former investment banker wants to reposition himself, close advisers say.   

Keeping Philippe in office could have suggested Macron was too weak to let go of his prime minister and that his young party lacked the depth to allow for a full-blooded cabinet overhaul.

Philippe had shown steadfast loyalty during waves of unrest and could emerge as a presidential rival in 2022.  

Macron poached Philippe from the centre-right opposition and holding onto him would have complicated winning back leftist voters. 

In an interview with regional newspapers publishing late Thursday, Macron said France must prepare for a 'very difficult' economic crisis, 'so we have to chart a new course.'

'I see this based on an economic, social, environmental and cultural reconstruction,' he said. 'Behind this, there will be a new team.'  

This article has been adapted from its original source.


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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