Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

French president meeting European Union chief, to reveal minister picks

French president meeting European Union chief, to reveal minister picks

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, whom President Macron named on Monday, will lead the government, at least until the parliamentary elections scheduled for June.

French president Emmanuel Macron has gathered his Cabinet for its first meeting - an assembly which looks significantly different to its predecessors.

In his second full day in office, he also hosted a delegation from the International Olympic Committee in the Elysee Palace in Paris, a symbolically important gesture of support for the French capital's bid in its race against Los Angeles for the 2024 Games.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, 69, who led France's military operations overseas as former President Francois Hollande's defence minister, will stay on in Macron's government as foreign minister.

After the independent Macron trounced establishment parties in the presidential election, the government is expected to be carefully balanced between left and right, women and men, new faces and political heavyweights.

Another centrist, Sylvie Goulard will lead the Defence Ministry, while Socialist Gerard Collomb will head the Interior Ministry.

Environmentalist Nicolas Hulot, takes charge of ecology, and publisher Francoise Nyssen became culture minister.

The government will be formally presented on Wednesday after Mr Macron's office delayed the announcement, initially expected on Tuesday, while authorities check the tax records and backgrounds of potential ministers, in an effort to prevent any potential conflict of interest. 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 European Union, to deter others from trying to leave after debt and migration crises that have eroded public support for the bloc.

Brigitte Macron is 64, while the French president is 39.

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