French President Macron names centrist Edouard Philippe as prime minister | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 15.05.2017
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French President Macron names centrist Edouard Philippe as prime minister

French President Emmanuel Macron has named centrist Le Havre Mayor Edouard Philippe as his prime minister. The naming of other ministers, usually announced at the same time, has been delayed until tomorrow.

Frankreich Edouard Philippe neuer Premierminister (picture-alliance/AP Photo/F. Mori)

Edouard Philippe, right, shook hands with outgoing Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve

Freshly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron announced his pick for prime minister on Monday, his first day on the job.

The announcement of the prime minister was expected on Monday morning but was announced by Macron's new general secretary at the Elysee, Alexis Kohler, on Monday afternoon. While the names of the prime minister and cabinet ministers have been announced at the same time in previous presidencies, Macron's prime minister was the only person named on Monday. The naming of the cabinet ministers was delayed until Tuesday.

'Man of the right'

Edouard Philippe (pictured above, right) has served as mayor of the northern port city of Le Havre since 2010, but is largely unknown to voters on the national level. The 46-year-old son of two teachers studied at the same universities as Macron and shares many of his political positions. He is known politically for his support of moderate French conservative ex-prime minister Alain Juppe.

Frankreich Paris Amtseinführung Emmanuel Macron (Reuters/P. Wojazer)

Having won the presidency, Macron's next challenge is to build support in parliament

Philippe's first engagement was a handover meeting at Matignon palace with his predecessor, Bernard Cazeneuve (pictured above, left), a Socialist, during which both men paid tribute to one another with warm remarks while acknowledging they were from different sides of the political spectrum.

"You said you were a man of the left, I do not doubt it, and myself, I am a man of the right," Philippe told Cazeneuve.

The move is a signal that Macron hopes to attract other young modernizers from the center of the political spectrum to his new centrist party, La Republique en Marche (Republic on the Move).

The 39-year-old President Macron is set to travel to Berlin later on Monday for his first official trip. The journey and the scheduled talks with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel are seen as the first move toward Macron's pledge on renewing the European Union.

Macron's maneuvering

Macron hopes to gain the support of mainstream lawmakers as he takes over from the socialist Francois Hollande.

The new president has promised to fight unemployment, boost security, and heal political divides after a contentious campaign that involved clashing with the right-wing firebrand Marine Le Pen.

Macron hopes to win a majority in the 577-seat assembly in the June legislative elections.  

"I will not reverse course on any of the commitments taken in front of the French people," Macron said as he took office on Sunday.

dj, se/jm (AFP, dpa)

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