France's President Macron appoints cabinet with figures from the left and right

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It's a sign of the new French president's determination to shore up European unity.

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Appointing Le Drian to the Foreign Ministry was a natural move after his five years at the Defence Ministry, where he was held in high esteem for his role as "super salesman" for selling French weapons to foreign governments, France Inter radio reported.

Collomb has spearheaded several major projects to revitalise Lyon since becoming mayor in 2001. Macron also chose center-right Republican leader Edouard Philippe as his Prime Minister.

Le Drian, taking over from predecessor Jean-Marc Ayrault on Wednesday, said he sees continuity between his previous position as head of the French defense ministry and his new diplomatic job. When Britain leaves the bloc in 2019, France will be the EU's only member with nuclear weapons and a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.

The National Front has had only two lawmakers in the National Assembly. The remaining seven ministers are not attached to any political movement.

But the lunch session was replaced by a meeting over dinner at 20:00, sources said.

The government includes 18 ministers, half of them women and half men.

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.

Macron picked Bruno Le Maire a pro-European, German-speaking right-winger from The Republicans, as his Economy Minister.

France's President Macron appoints cabinet with figures from the left and right

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.

To that end, Nicolas Hulot, a well-known environmentalist, was named as Ecology Minister.

President Emmanuel Macron might have announced his new balanced government but it's far from set in stone. Alain Juppe, a former prime minister, called Philippe "a man of great talent" with "all the qualities to handle the hard job".

Drawing wide support across the political spectrum will be key as Macron seeks a legislative victory in parliamentary elections in June.

"If Macron wins a sufficiently big majority, perhaps even an absolute majority, he can get through all the reforms that are important to him".

Mr 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.

Alexis Kohler, the newly appointed Elysee secretary general, presented the politically eclectic list of ministers in Paris on Wednesday afternoon.

He supervised French military operations in Mali, Central African Republic, Iraq and Syria.

Sylvie Goulard, a 52-year-old centrist MEP from the southern city of Marseille, is little known to the French public, having spent much of her career in Brussels.

"He's very serious and well-liked but doesn't know that much about foreign affairs".

From 2001 to 2004 she was an advisor to then European Commission president Romano Prodi.

  • Leroy Wright