According to AFP, 43-year-old Philippe handed over the resignation of the government to Macron in the morning at a meeting at the Elysee Palace. The president accepted her. “The new prime minister will be appointed in the coming hours,” the presidential palace said. Ministers will remain in office until the appointment of their successors.
In recent days, there has been speculation in the French media that the new government could be headed by the European Union’s chief negotiator for Brexit, Michel Barnier, and Defense Minister Florence Parly. However, according to Reuters, it is possible that Macron will entrust Philippe again with the formation of a new government.
The current cabinet ends shortly after Sunday’s second round of municipal elections, which ended in a debacle for Macron’s party. Large cities such as Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux and Strasbourg were dominated by the opposition Europe Ecology-Greens (EELV), in Paris the chair was defended by Socialist Mayor Anne Hidalg, in Perpignan the far-right candidate of the National Association (RN) chairwoman Marine Le Pen won.
The only major victory was the president’s camp in the port city of Le Havre, where Édouard Philippe won. It is not yet clear whether he will accept the position of mayor now. Under French suffrage, he can appoint a representative for himself.
In an interview Macron gave Le Parisien and other regional dailies on Thursday, he said he wanted to work with the new team for the remaining two years of his term. He also intends to embark on a “new path”.
In recent days, the French media has speculated that the president will want to put more emphasis on environmental and social issues, given the success of the Greens in the municipal elections. Philippe, a former member of the Conservative Republican Party who never became a member of the President’s REM party, was seen as an obstacle to this left-wing change.
In Thursday’s interview, Macron praised the prime minister. According to him, Philippe has done “excellent work” since May 2017, when he took over as head of government, and under very difficult conditions he has carried out “important, historic reforms” with him. In recent months, however, differing views of both politicians have surfaced. While Macron wanted to relax the measures taken to combat the spread of coronavirus more quickly, Philippe slowed down the lifting of restrictions.
According to the latest opinion polls, Philippe is more popular with the French than Macron. In a survey from Thursday, 40 percent of respondents expressed confidence in the prime minister and 33 percent in the president. In the survey, 75 percent of respondents also called for more emphasis on environmental and social policy.