Macron's new-look government stretches across French political spectrum

PARIS May 17 Bruno Le Maire, named French economy minister on Wednesday, is a reform-minded conservative whose expertise on Europe and staunch defence of the Franco-German relationship will prove valuable as new President Emmanuel Macron pushes for closer European Union integration.

On Wednesday, a total of 22 ministers, including junior ministers, split equally between men and women, were named in his government.

After naming Edouard Philippe Prime Minister, Emmanuel Macron made known the names of the people who will make up the very first government of his quinquennium.

The mix of center-left and center-right ministers underlines Macron's need to transcend the traditional French political divide.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, outgoing Socialist defense minister and a close friend of ex-President Francois Hollande, was named foreign minister and minister for Europe.

Macron's long term ally Gerard Collomb, the mayor of Lyon, is named interior minister and centrist François Bayrou, who joined forces with Macron at a crucial point in the campaign was named minister for justice.

A pro-European, German-speaking rightist, Le Maire came second to ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy for the leadership of the The Republicans party in 2014 and finished fifth in the right-wing presidential primaries past year.

Members of civil society without government work on their resumes were appointed to some ministerial posts. To that end, Nicolas Hulot, a well-known environmentalist, was named ecology minister.

Bruno Le Maire (Le-mare) is a member of The Republicans party.

Sylvie Goulard became defence minister and fencing champion Laura Flessel was appointed sports minister.

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.

The government appointments are part of a delicate balancing act Macron has to perform ahead of the mid-June legislative elections.

Macron's office is scheduled to announce his government Wednesday afternoon, after a delay to dig deeper into proposed ministers' tax records and potential conflicts of interest.

He's been seen as a behind-the-scenes mentor for Macron, pledging his support even before he launched his presidential campaign.

He was the first major Socialist politician to decide to back Macron's presidential bid.

French President Emmanuel Macron waits to welcome UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, Tuesday, May 16, 2017.

The reform-minded politician and senator, who was one of Macron's first big-name backers, was moved to tears at seeing the 39-year-old take office at the Elysee Palace last Sunday. A series of tax evasion and other scandals hit the previous government. He has also promised a tough line on Britain as it negotiates its departure from the EU.

  • Zachary Reyes