France's Macron To Name PM on First Full Day in Office

French president Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump
French president Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump
Author

16 May, 2017

Emmanuel Macron is beginning on Monday his first day as French President, with picking a Prime Minister and later travelling to Germany to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel, the media reported.

The new president faces a host of daunting challenges including tackling stubbornly high unemployment, fighting jihadists and healing divisions exposed by an often vicious election campaign.

A year ago he was part of Juppe's unsuccessful campaign team in The Republicans' primaries, and then joined the presidential campaign of Francois Fillon, the party's nominee.

Reacting to Mr Philippe's appointment, Mr Juppe called the new prime minister "a man of great talent" with "all the qualities to handle the hard job".

He is a close ally of Alain Juppé, the former prime minister who ran unsuccessfully in the center-right presidential primary past year.

On Sunday the centrist leader took power, and promised to restore France's shattered self-confidence and help rebuild European Union.

"The right has just been annexed, with a prime minister taken from its ranks, from the Republicans", Melenchon said. When Juppe was beaten, Philippe switched his support to Francois Fillon for the French presidency but then quit the campaign when prosecutors started investigating allegations that Fillon's family benefited illegally from cushy taxpayer-funded jobs.

Philippe's age reinforced the generational shift in France's corridors of power and the image of youthful vigor that Macron is cultivating. "Philippe knows his way around EU affairs and is a strong proponent of Franco-German friendship", Martin Selmayr, the head of cabinet under European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, wrote on his Twitter account.

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French President Emmanuel Macron's choice for prime minister is about to be named at 2:30 p.m. (1230 GMT).

Showing more solidarity with Germany on the migrant crisis and insisting a cut in French public spending is an integral part of his manifesto would also be mentioned as gestures of goodwill towards Berlin, the source said.

As far as France's relations with the U.S. go, Macron is a true-blue proponent of trans-Atlantic solidarity, which he sees as a guarantor of European and global security, Sergei Fyodorov continued.

That said, Macron will still seek an equal-footed partnership with the US, Fyodorov said, adding that in foreign policy Macron will stay the course of his predecessor, Francois Hollande, and will keep fighting worldwide terrorism as part of the US-led coalition. His appointment would be seen as an effort by the centrist Macron to build a majority in parliament by drawing in politicians from the right.

Merkel has praised Macron's embrace of European unity but has offered few concrete details about the way forward for German-French relations.

Among names being bandied around for the top job in Macron's first government, speculation is mostly centering on Edouard Philippe.

Mr Philippe is not a member of the president's new party - La République En Marche - but of the centre-right Republicans.

The visit signalled Mr Macron's intentions to move rapidly on campaign promises to revive support for the beleaguered European Union by reforming and strengthening it.


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