Emmanuel Macron Appoints Edouard Philippe as the Next French Prime Minister
Newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron named Edouard Philippe as the new French Prime Minister in a statement released by Elysee Presidential Palace. Philippe is 46 years old and the present Mayor of Le Havre, a Normandy port town. Surprisingly, Macron’s pick for Prime Minister has come from a different camp contrary to expectation.
Edouard Philippe is a conservative lawmaker from Les Republicains political party. Retired President Nicolas Sarkozy formerly headed Les Republicains whose 2017 presidential candidate was Francois Fillon. Philippe is a center-right politician who has been tipped to become the next Prime Minister. His appointment comes in the wake of Macron’s attempts to garner support from both the right and left as the country approaches the June parliamentary elections.
Macron, a centrist and the youngest French leader to ever assume office, has made the strategic appointment to strengthen his leadership and broaden his appeal. This is the first time that a sitting French president has picked a prime minister from another party without being forced to do it after a parliamentary elections defeat.
Shifting Political Landscape
Macron is a former banker who climbed French political ranks in a surprisingly quick time. Helped by his wife, Brigitte Macron, he was able to rise from a junior parliamentary member to the French president in under one year.
Macron’s presidential win represented the seismic shift in the political landscape of France. For decades, the country has been dominated by the two main right-wing and left-wing parties. During his presidential campaigns earlier this year, Macron pledged to dismantle the current political divide between right and left. He aims to win over more rightwing politicians and absorb them into his largely untested LA REM (La Republique en Marche) movement.
French Presidents can appoint their preferred choice for prime minister provided their political party holds a majority number of seats in the National Assembly. Otherwise, they would be forced to choose a PM from another party. As it stands, the June legislative elections will determine Edouard Philippe’s fate. If the president’s LA REM party fails to clinch a majority of parliamentary seats, then Macron will be forced to make another appointment.
President Macron is expected to hit the ground running by tackling both foreign and domestic issues as soon as possible. One of his immediate actions as president will be announcing his cabinet appointments and meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the European Project.
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