Macron's prime minister: like-minded


Newly installed French president Emmanuel Macron unveiled his first government on Wednesday with the left, the right, the centre and ecologists all represented in his first government.

But his year-old party faces a strong challenge from the losers of the presidential election, with the Republicans, Le Pen's National Front, the hard-left France Insoumise (France Unbowed) and centre-left Socialists all plotting revenge.

Emmanuel Macron has appointed socialist Jean-Yves Le Drian to head up foreign affairs and European MP Sylvie Goulard as defence minister.

Specifically, the appointments of rising center-right figures Bruno Le Maire as economy minister and Gerald Darmanin as budget minister are an attempt to split the Republicans (LR) in two.

Macron has said half his ministers will be women and that some will be high achievers in business, academia, the civil service or the NGO world.

Olympic fencing champion Laura Flessel was named sports minister, star environmentalist Nicolas Hulot - who had spurned multiple offers of cabinet roles from previous presidents - accepted the ecology brief and crusading publisher Francoise Nyssen took charge of culture.

Like Mr Macron, Mr Philippe, attended the elite ENA school, and his political hero is Mr Rocard - another point in common with the 39 year-old president.

A former minister in the outgoing Socialist government, Macron has already convinced dozens of Socialist MPs to run on his general election ticket.

Macron is the conservative Merkel's fourth French president in almost 12 years as chancellor.

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The French President says he requires ministers to sign a commitment to "integrity and morality".

Philippe - a moderate member of the Republicans party - is seen as Macron's Trojan horse on the right.

Macron said he's relying on Tusk to "go even further in this work of re-shaping and setting in motion again a European ambition".

He joins Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, who Macron named Monday, a day after taking office as president.

The fervently pro-European Macron also said he would help rebuild the flagging European Union.

If Macron's party doesn't win a majority in the June 11 and 18 parliamentary elections, he might have to form a coalition and adjust the makeup of the government.

A European lawmaker who speaks four languages, Goulard is respected in Brussels as a straight talker, having acted as adviser to former European Commission president Romano Prodi.

He will announce the slimmed down group of 15 ministers at 15:00 local time (13:00 GMT), following a delay as extensive background checks were carried out into their tax records and any conflicts of interest.

The 69-year-old from northwest Brittany, who backed former cabinet colleague Macron for president, is one of only two ministers to be kept on - a reward for his support which helped paper over Macron's lack of global experience.