France's President Macron appoints cabinet with figures from the left and right

Cheryl Sanders
May 30, 2017

After naming conservative Edouard Philippe, a member of The Republicans party, as his Prime Minister earlier this week, Macron picked Gerard Collomb, veteran Socialist Mayor of Lyon, as Interior Minister and government number two.

On Tuesday, he and Philippe were finalising a government which Macron says will supersede France's entrenched left-right divide and breathe new life into the country's jaded political landscape.

Macron had promised to include figures from civil society in his government.

Olympic fencing champion Laura Flessel was named sports minister, star environmentalist Nicolas Hulot - who had spurned multiple offers of cabinet roles from previous presidents - accepted the ecology brief and crusading publisher Francoise Nyssen took charge of culture.

Le Drian, also a strong supporter of Macron, had been considered for the prime minister's post, French media reported.

France's former defense minister has been named as foreign minister and centrist politician Sylvie Goulard (Goo-LARR) defense minister in French President Emmanuel Macron's first government.

A trained lawyer, he worked as public affairs director for the state nuclear group Areva between 2007 and 2010, before becoming a member of parliament in 2012, and then mayor of Le Havre in 2014.

The 69-year-old represents the moderate, centrist wing of the party and was elected to the French National Assembly aged 34 in 1981, when Macron was a toddler. He named conservative Edouard Philippe, 46, as his prime minister. Goulard follows Michèle Alliot-Marie, who served as defense minister from 2002 to 2007.

"They're trying to make a consensus government in order to get things done, so for the moment I'll give Macron the benefit of the doubt", said Clairinvest fund manager Ion-Marc Valahu.

Current Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is expected to be the only survivor from the government of Francois Hollande, who left office last weekend after an unpopular five-year term.

Shortly after Philippe's appointment, Macron was scheduled to travel to Berlin on his first foreign trip as French leader.

Merkel said they had "a common understanding that we can't just focus on Britain leaving the EU but that, first and foremost, we have to think about how we can deepen and crisis-proof the European Union, and especially the eurozone".

François Baroin, who is leading the campaign for the Republicans has made it clear that his party don't intend to go into coalition with Macron's REM, but take complete control.

France's new President will hope his team delivers a majority in the parliamentary elections in June.

He said he wanted to convince people that France was "at the dawn of an extraordinary renaissance" and that the world and Europe "need France now more than ever".

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