French government ministers step down amid investigations

In a statement, Goulard said her resignation was an act of "good faith" following the investigation. Macron landed Monday at the Bourget airfield in an Airbus A400-M military transport plane to launch the aviation showcase, where the latest Boeing and Airbus passenger jets will vie for attention with a F-35 warplane, drones and other and high-tech hardware.

France's youngest ever president has pledged to usher in a new era of cleaner politics after a series of scandals involving ministers under his Socialist predecessor Francois Hollande.

The defence and European affairs ministers are from Mr Bayrou's small centrist Modem party, which is allied with Mr Macron's Republic on the Move party. Goulard, who was previously a member of the European Parliament, said she could not remain in the government while there was a possibility that she could be investigated over alleged misuse of expenses at the parliament.

The resignation of Ms Goulard on Tuesday put pressure on the justice minister, who was in charge of promoting a draft law on "restoring trust" in politics.

But she said the possibility of an investigation made it hard for her to stay in the post given Macron's agenda to clean up politics.

European affairs minister De Sarnez pulled out of the government just days after winning a seat in Sunday's elections. De Sarnez said all options were open regarding her future.

Another minister who is facing an unrelated investigation announced Tuesday he was leaving the government to lead the group of lawmakers elected under the banner of Macron's party at the National Assembly.

Another close ally of Macron, Minister of Territorial Cohesion Richard Ferrand, has also resigned amid an investigation into possible nepotism and conflicts of interest. He denies doing anything illegal, but acknowledges some old habits are no longer accepted by the public.

Observers say that pledge makes it hard for Macron to keep MoDem in his new government while it is facing a probe.

Macron hopes to complete a reshuffle later Wednesday after his party won a commanding majority in the parliamentary elections at the weekend.

  • Joanne Flowers