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France's President Macron appoints Edouard Philippe as new prime minister

New French President elected Emmanuel Macron
Vincent Isore | IP3 | Getty Images
New French President elected Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron has appointed Edouard Philippe as France's new prime minister.

Philippe, the mayor of Le Havre in Northern France, will replace Bernard Cazeneuve who assumed office in late 2016 under Francois Hollande's presidency. The appointment is Macron's first major decision as president and will be critical to his future success.

The prime minister, who presides over government, will be instrumental in rallying support to help Macron form a parliamentary majority in next month's elections. Without such backing, Macron would struggle to implement his economic reform agenda.

Mayor of Le Havre Edouard Philippe speaks as he presents the candidates for the 'La Republique en marche' party ahead of the June parliamentary elections
Charly Triballeau | AFP | Getty Images
Mayor of Le Havre Edouard Philippe speaks as he presents the candidates for the 'La Republique en marche' party ahead of the June parliamentary elections

Macron is expected to announce his full government line up on Tuesday.

Philippe is not a member of the president's center-left La Republique En Marche movement, but a center-right Republican, who supported the presidential campaign of Francois Fillon until the candidate was embroiled in an embezzlement scandal.

This is the first time in modern French history that a president has appointed a prime minister from outside his party without being forced to by a parliamentary defeat.

It is thought that the appointment will help Macron amass support from the political right.
So far Macron has presented 480 candidates ahead of the National Assembly elections on June 11 and 18. Approximately 80 percent of the nominees are new to politics – they include shopkeepers, mathematicians and a bullfighter – and reflect Macron's promise to move French politics closer to French people.

Philippe won out to some other, perhaps more politically aligned, potential nominees, including former Socialist Richard Ferrand, who has been a loyal supporter of Macron since he established his independent movement last year.

"In government, you will see that a lot of the inner circle will drop out," Macron's campaign spokesman, Christophe Castaner, said at Macron's inauguration.

"I was among the first to say 'why not a prime minister from the right?' That's in the nature of what we're trying to do."

Macron was inaugurated as France's 25th President at a swearing in ceremony in Paris, Sunday. The 39-year-old former-investment banker was elected with 66 percent of votes in a final round runoff against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen on May 7.

Later today Macron will travel to Germany to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel. As the premiers of the euro zone's two largest economies, the meeting will be a significant one and will set the tone for future EU talks.