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.
The 46-year-old Edouard Philippe is relatively unknown to voters, also making good on Mr Macron’s campaign promise to repopulate French politics with new faces.
Mr Philippe’s age reinforced the generational shift in France’s corridors of power and the image of youthful vigour that President Macron is cultivating.
The new PM is the mayor of the Normandy port of Le Havre, a trained lawyer and an author of political thrillers.
He is also a member of the mainstream-right Republicans party that was badly battered by Mr Macron’s victory in the presidential campaign.
As such, Mr Philippe could possibly attract other Republicans to Macron’s cause, as the centrist president works to piece together a majority in parliament to pass his promised economic reforms.
Alain Juppe, a former prime minister, called Mr Philippe “a man of great talent” with “all the qualities to handle the difficult job.”
Shortly after Mr Philippe’s appointment, Mr Macron travelled to Berlin on his first foreign trip as French leader.
The visit signalled his intentions to move rapidly on campaign promises to revive support for the beleaguered European Union by reforming and strengthening it.
Germany is looking to Mr Macron to revitalise France as an economic power and political heavyweight in the EU, which is facing complex divorce proceedings with its current No. 2 economy, Britain.
– with AP/AAP