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France's Macron unveils Cabinet, half of them women

19 May 2017, 11:43 | Darnell Patrick

France's Macron unveils Cabinet, half of them women

New French President Emmanuel Macron waves to supporters after a ceremony at the Arc of Triomphe following his formal inauguration ceremony as French President Sunday

France's new president has unveiled his cabinet ministers on Wednesday, selecting a mix of political hues to broaden his support.

Philippe comes from the ranks of a center-right party outside Macron's own movement.

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 worldwide experience.

Pro-EU and centrist politician Sylvie Goulard was named defense minister. He took the position of leading European and foreign affairs.

Tusk was one of the first prominent European voices to congratulate Macron on his 7 May presidential election runoff victory over French far-right and anti-EU politician Marine Le Pen.

Philippe, like Macron, attended the elite ENA school, and his political hero is Rocard - another point in common with the 39-year-old new president. An advocate of closer European Union integration, Macron backs a "multi-speed" Europe, an idea that has seen growing support in Germany and other EU countries since Britain voted to leave the bloc.

It is the first time in modern French political history that a president has appointed a prime minister from outside his camp without being forced to by a defeat in parliamentary elections. They range from quirky to obscure to old-school: math genius Cedric Villani; former train and subway boss Anne-Marie Idrac; Axelle Tessandier, who created a startup in San Francisco before joining Macron's campaign; and a string of former ministers in Socialist and conservative governments.

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A minister for agriculture under ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, Le Maire made a failed bid for the Republicans presidential nomination a year ago when he finished a disappointing fifth.

The youngest person selected to work in Macron's government was Mounir Mahjoubi, 33, who was named junior minister for digital economy.

Later this month Macron will hold talks with Donald Trump, when the USA president - believed to have preferred Le Pen over Macron - visits Brussels for a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit. Mr Macron said he would go to Lausanne, Switzerland, for a key IOC meeting in July and he may go to Lima, Peru, in September, where the committee makes its final decision.

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.

The new cabinet is scheduled to hold its first meeting on Thursday morning.

French President Emmanuel Macron presented a diverse cabinet of 22 ministers, including a Jew, a Muslim and both advocates and critics of Israel.

He is eyeing parliamentary elections in June when he hopes his new Republique En Marche (REM) party will win a majority, giving him the freedom to enact his ambitious reform programme.



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