France's Macron mixes political shades in ministerial appointments

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe's new government comprises a mix of socialist and conservative officials, with an equal balance between men and women as well as people from civil society.

His appointment marks a milestone in the rebuilding of France's political landscape, which has been ignited by the election of Mr Macron - the first president of modern France not from the country's mainstream left or right parties.

Among 16 ministers appointed Wednesday, European lawmaker Sylvie Goulard, a centrist, was named defense minister and Socialist Jean-Yves Le Drian will take the helm at the renamed ministry of Europe and foreign affairs, signaling the new administration's commitment to the European Union.

Philippe is "a prime minister who will bring everyone together around a progressive, daring, unifying programme", said Gerard Collomb, the Socialist mayor of Lyon and one of the earliest backers of Macron.

Other women named as part of the government include Agnès Busain as minister for solidarity and health, Muriel Penicaud as minister of labour and Françoise Nyseen, a publisher, as culture minister. To that end, Nicolas Hulot, a well-known environmentalist, was named ecology minister.

The president named low-profile, center-right Edouard Philippe as prime minister on Monday. Le Drian, who as a minister under Hollande oversaw two wars in Africa while selling French jet fighters and submarines, has also worked extensively with Germany.

Le Maire is also a leader of the pro-Macron faction in the Republican party.

His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco has congratulated 39-year-old Emmanuel Macron for winning the French election.

FILE - In this Feb.17, 2017 file photo, then French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon, right, listens to Gerald Darmanin, in Tourcoing, northern France. He is a French lawyer and politician with a centre-right ideology, in contrast with the liberal Macron.

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.

After a delay to dig deeper into proposed ministers' tax records and potential conflicts of interest, Macron's office announced his government.

Philippe - a moderate member of the Republicans party whose presidential candidate crashed out in the election's first round - is seen as Macron's Trojan horse on the right. As soon as Macron made it clear that he was in the running for the highest political post in the country, his personal life came under scrutiny and his marriage to his former teacher, Brigitte, made waves.

A lawmaker since 2012, his words for Macron have not always been generous.

  • Leroy Wright