Published: Sun, May 21, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

French president meeting EU chief, to reveal minister picks

French president meeting EU chief, to reveal minister picks

Newly inaugurated centrist French president Emmanuel Macron chose his government on Wednesday, appointing a mix of political hues to the top jobs as part of his promise to bridge the right-left divide.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Edouard Philippe intend to reach a balance between the world of politics and business, which had never been among priorities of traditional left and right policies, Republique En Marche (REM, or Republic On Move) party candidate for the general election Jean Viard told Sputnik.

France's new Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was a respected defence minister in the outgoing Socialist government, praised for his pragmatism and the flurry of orders he chalked up for the arms industry.

In an important gesture to the right-wing Republicans party ahead of parliamentary elections next month, the crucial Economy Ministry will be run by prominent conservative Bruno Le Maire, 48.

"Macron has tried to strike a fine political balance to maximize his chances of building a majority, while making sure the new government has enough competent figures to launch reforms", Antonio Barroso, deputy director of research at Teneo Intelligence, said in a note.

Among the non-politicians to be offered roles is well-known environmentalist Nicolas Hulot, a source in the presidency said.

Pro-EU and centrist politician Sylvie Goulard was named defense minister.

For the post of interior minister, he picked Mr Gerard Collomb, the Lyon Mayor who was one of the first Socialists to be a vocal supporter of Mr Macron.

When Emmanuel Macron rode down the Champs Elysees after his inauguration in a military jeep and not the customary limousine, France's youngest postwar president sent a message that on his watch Paris will be strong and determined in its diplomacy.

Some analysts and opponents have questioned the strength of Macron's mandate after he won just 24.01 percent in the first round of the presidential election on April 23 before his landslide victory over Le Pen in the second.

She was an advisor of former European Commission president Romano Prodi.

Alexis Kohler (Ko-LAIR), Macron's general secretary at the presidential Elysee Palace, made the announcement Wednesday.

Macron traveled to Berlin on Monday to visit German Chancellor Angela Merkel after naming his prime minister, Edouard Philippe.

Goulard's appointment signals that Macron wants to follow through on his calls for deeper European cooperation and intelligence-sharing following recent extremist attacks on European soil.

Macron is especially looking for more potential support from the moderate wing of the right - a fact that the mainstream right party, the Republicans, sorely resents since its members believe he is trying to split the party and steal voters by pulling away its moderates.

The first cabinet meeting will take place on Thursday.

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