Macron to unveil first French government


In an unprecedented move for post-war France, Emmanuel Macron has fulfilled his promise of being a reunifying President by naming a right-wing politician outside of his own party as prime minister.

Earlier Monday in Paris, Macron named centre-right lawmaker Edouard Philippe as prime minister in a further effort to splinter the country's traditional parties and redraw the political map.

Philippe and Macron chose experienced politicians from the left, the center and the right for the main positions.

Le Maire, a pro-European German-speaker, came second to ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy in the battle for the leadership of The Republicans (LR) party in 2014, and finished fifth in the party's presidential primaries previous year. Television presenter Nicolas Hulot was recruited to the ecology ministry and Gerald Darmanin, another Republican, was named budget minister.

Olympic fencing champion Laura Flessel will take up the role of sports minister.

That the new prime minister was a member of the Republicans, the mainstream right, "is the demonstration that (the Republicans) can not symbolize an opposition worthy of the name", Le Pen said in a statement.

Macron served as a minister in former president Fran├žois Hollande's cabinet, and much of his support comes from the center-left Socialists - and there's speculation that many will decamp and run under the En Marche! banner.

After campaigning for Socialist prime minister Michel Rocard as a youth, he switched to the right, becoming a close ally of centre-right former prime minister Alain Juppe.

They are also strategic, with Mr. Macron, a former Socialist Economy Minister, reaching out to the moderate right of the Les Republicains (LR) party in order to get their support in the National Assembly, which will be reconstituted in June following elections.

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The announcement of the government was delayed by 24-hours on Tuesday, officially due to the need to carry out more extensive screening of candidates, but which might also have been down to last-minute negotiations.

Meanwhile, criticism from Socialists and conservative Republicans met the nomination of Philippe as prime minister.

"The election of the new French president offers us here the possibility to bring dynamism into the development of Europe", she said, emboldened after her conservatives won a regional vote on Sunday that boosts her chances of re-election in September.

The source added that the new French government's first cabinet meeting would take place on Thursday.

Mr Macron was set to meet European Council president Donald Tusk in Paris yesterday as he tackles his top foreign priority of reforming the EU.

Macron's government is expected to be formally presented today.

Macron, who ran a staunchly pro-European campaign, kept with tradition by visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday in his first trip overseas after taking office.

Macron has urged a reconstruction of the European Union to fight off a recent surge of populism on the continent.