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French government resigns as formality

June 19, 2017

In a post-election formality, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has tendered his government's resignation. President Emmanuel Macron has reinstated him and is expected to name a new government on Wednesday.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, Minister of State for Relations with Parliament and government spokesperson Christophe Castaner, Minister of the Interior Gerard Collomb and Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian walk towards journalists at the Elysee Palace
Image: Reuters/B. Tessier

The French government resigned on Monday in a post-legislative-election formality.

President Emmanuel Macron immediately reappointed  Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and asked the right winger to form a new cabinet, Macron said in a statement. He was due to form a government on Wednesday.

Macron's centrist En Marche! party won a decisive victory in a parliamentary election, allowing his government to quickly pass laws in the future.

Government spokesman Christophe Castaner told RTL radio the government reshuffle would be "technical and not far-reaching." 

Macron asked close ally Richard Ferrand, who is embroiled in a conflict of interest scandal, to leave his cabinet and seek the leadership of his party in parliament.

His planned reshuffle was slightly delayed by an attempted attack on the Champs-Elysees on Monday afternoon.

Security bills

Following the attack Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said he would present a bill at cabinet meeting on Wednesday to extend France's state of emergency from July 15, its current expiration date, until November 1.

Macron's government was expected to pass its first set of measures during a special parliamentary session starting on June 27. The laws were expected to include moves to strengthen security, improve ethics in politics and reform France's restrictive labor laws.

Newly appointed French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe poses at the Prime Minister residence in Paris,
Philippe says the diversity of new lawmakers, one as young as 23, was a good sign for FranceImage: picture-alliance/AP Images/F. Mori

En Marche! and its centrist ally MoDem won 350 seats in the 577-seat assembly. The conservative opposition, the Republicans, won a total of 130 seats with their allies.

The Socialist Party of Macron's predecessor, Francois Hollande, lost more than 250 seats, obtaining just 30.

Following the initial results, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the voters had given a clear majority to President Macron, and that his government was "humbled and determined" after securing a victory in the polls.

Philippe also said the diversity of new lawmakers was a good sign for France. "This majority will have a mission: to work for France," the PM said. "With their vote, the French have, by a wide majority, chosen hope over rage, optimism over pessimism, confidence over withdrawal."

The newly-elected parliament is nearly six years younger on average than the previous, have a record 224 women lawmakers, and will be strikingly more varied in background.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was among the first to congratulate Macron. She lauded him for winning a "clear parliamentary majority" in elections Sunday, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said. Seibert added, in a tweet, that Merkel wished for "further good cooperation for Germany, France, Europe."

aw/tj (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)

Macron party wins commanding majority