New French President Announces His 1st Government

Pauline Gross
May 19, 2017

Le Drian says he expects France to play a crucial role in a "complex, fragile, unstable worldwide situation".

Germany's foreign minister quickly welcomed Le Drian, describing him as someone of "enormous political experience and great renown".

Gaffe-prone former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has joked about the almost 25-year age gap between French President Emmanuel Macron and his older wife, calling her the leader's "beautiful mum".

Ms Kosciusko-Morizet was among more than 170 conservatives who agreed to "seize the outstretched hand" of Mr Macron and support his proclaimed political project of bridging the divide between left and right long entrenched in French politics.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, 69, who led France's military operations overseas as former President Francois Hollande's defense minister, will stay on in Macron's government as foreign minister and also be in charge of European affairs.

Specifically, the appointments of rising center-right figures Bruno Le Maire as economy minister and Gerald Darmanin as budget minister are an attempt to split the Republicans (LR) in two.

Environmentalist Nicolas Hulot, takes charge of ecology, and publisher Francoise Nyssen became culture minister.

The 69-year-old from northwest Brittany, who backed former cabinet colleague Macron for president, is one of only two ministers to be kept on - a reward for his support which helped paper over Macron's lack of global experience.

Philippe - a moderate member of the Republicans party - is seen as Macron's Trojan horse on the right.

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But his year-old party faces a strong challenge from the losers of the presidential election, with the Republicans, Le Pen's National Front, the hard-left France Insoumise (France Unbowed) and centre-left Socialists all plotting revenge.

If Macron's party doesn't win a majority in the June 11 and 18 parliamentary elections, he might have to form a coalition and adjust the makeup of the government. Collomb has been a prominent Socialist politician in France since becoming mayor of Lyon in 2001, France's third biggest city.

The En Marche movement has been canvassing candidates for the poll as it tries to replicate its electoral success after its leader Emmanuel Macron won the presidency this month.

Alexis Kohler, Macron's new general secretary at the presidential Elysee Palace, made the announcement Wednesday.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, named foreign minister.

The armed forces will now be led by Sylvie Goulard, 59, the most senior woman in the government.

He supervised French military operations in Mali, Central African Republic, Iraq and Syria. European countries must not dig in their heels and say changes can never be made, she added, as "a European Union that behaves this way would be vulnerable from every corner of the world".

This item has been corrected to show that Goulard is 52 years old, not 59.

The government appointments are part of a delicate balancing act Macron who was elected president on May 7 on a platform of cutting red tape, boosting investment and relaunching Europe, has to perform ahead of the legislative elections. He has also promised a tough line on Britain as it negotiates its departure from the EU. The president's office said Mr Macron wanted to allow time for thorough checks on the ministers' background, including their tax situation, and avoid conflicts of interest.

Other reports by GizPress

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