Friday 22 September 2017

Emmanuel Macron has appointed Edouard Philippe as French Prime Minister - but who is he?

He belongs to the Republican Party

By Catherine Wyatt

New French president Emmanuel Macron has appointed Edouard Philippe as his prime minster.

A relatively unknown politician up until this point, who exactly is he?

A fresh face

The 46-year-old is young and not a traditional French political heavyweight, making good on Macron’s promise to reinvigorate politics with fresh faces.

He has a similar background to Macron, having attended the elite universities Sciences Po and the Ecole nationale d’administration – the training ground for French presidents.

And as Macron worked as an investment banker for Rothschild & Cie, Philippe also worked for the private sector in a law firm and as a lobbyist.

He is currently mayor of Le Havre, a port in Normandy in the north of France.

A Republican

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Philippe is a member of the mainstream-right Republican party – Macron beat their candidate Francois Fillon in the first round of voting in April.

During the presidential election he campaigned for Alain Juppe – the former Republican prime minister was beaten by Fillon in their party’s primary.

Philippe went on to support Fillon, before quitting the campaign when prosecutors starting investigating allegations that the candidate’s family had benefited illegally from tax-payer funded jobs.

A strategic pick for Macron

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The appointment of Philippe is hoped to bring Macron support from the right of the political spectrum, as the centrist president hopes to gain a governing majority in the legislative elections next month.

Right-wing voters are seen to be a barrier for Macron in getting enough representatives in the National Assembly to successfully implement his policy programme.

Appointing Philippe should go some way in persuading those voters to pick candidates from Macron’s own fledgling party, La Republique en Marche.

He also speaks fluent German – a strategic move from Macron, who will need the support of Angela Merkel and Germany if he is to succeed in his ambitious reforms of the European Union.

A controversial choice

Macron has appealed to the right-wing with his pick for prime minister, but he does not want to stray too far from his left-wing base.

Philippe abstained from the vote over gay marriage in 2013, and his conservative credentials will leave some left-leaning voters who backed Macron feeling short-changed.

A novelist

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Yes – the new prime minister has a range of hobbies, including having once co-written a political thriller. It has been reported that there are plenty of sex scenes in the book.

Press Association

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