French Government Resuffle: Defence, Finance, Foreign Ministers Retain Posts, Key Macron Ally Out

© REUTERS / POOLFormer French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe applauds newly-appointed Prime Minister Jean Castex in the courtyard of the Matignon Hotel during the handover ceremony in Paris, France July 3, 2020.
Former French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe applauds newly-appointed Prime Minister Jean Castex in the courtyard of the Matignon Hotel during the handover ceremony in Paris, France July 3, 2020. - Sputnik International
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On Friday, President Emmanuel Macron appointed Jean Castex, his former deputy chief of staff, to the post of prime minister following the resignation of Edouard Philippe, and instructed Castex to form a new government.

The Elysee Palace announced the composition of France's new government on Monday evening, with Florence Parly and Jean-Yves Le Drian hanging on to the major posts of armed forces and foreign affairs minister, respectively.

Bruno Le Maire, minister of economy and finance, also managed to retain his post in the new government, with Olivier Veran similarly hanging on to his job as health minister.

However, ecology minister Elisabeth Borne was replaced by Barbara Pompili, a member of President Macron's La Republique En Marche! party in France's National Assembly. Borne has instead been shuffled to the post of labour minister.

Also significantly, Gerald Darmanin, the 37-year-old budget minister, has replaced senior Macron ally Christophe Castaner in the interior ministry, where Castaner had served since October 2018.

Castaner was replaced after criticism of his ministry amid the ongoing anti-racism and police violence protests which have overwhelmed France and other European cities in the wake of the death of George Floyd in the US.

© SputnikFrench police officers protest Castaner's statements on combating racism on 13 June
French Government Resuffle: Defence, Finance, Foreign Ministers Retain Posts, Key Macron Ally Out - Sputnik International
French police officers protest Castaner's statements on combating racism on 13 June

Julien Denormandie, minister of the city and housing, was transferred to the post of minister of agriculture, taking over for Didier Guillaume. Minister of Culture Franck Riester was replaced by Roselyne Bachelot, a veteran politician who previously served as minister of health and sports and minister of environment under the Sarkozy and Chirac governments. Sebastian Lecornu was appointed minister of overseas affairs, taking over for Annick Girardin.

The new government's first council of ministers meeting is expected to take place on Tuesday afternoon.

Edouard Philippe, outgoing French Prime Minister, shakes hands with staff members during the official handover ceremony with newly appointed French Prime Minister Jean Castex at Hotel Matignon, the French prime minister's official residence, in Paris, France, July 3, 2020 - Sputnik International
French Prosecution Says It Will Launch Inquiry Into ex-PM's Handling of COVID-19 Crisis
President Macron appointed Jean Castex, the official charged with handling France's exit from the coronavirus lockdowns, as prime minister on Friday after Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that he would be stepping down. Philippe resigned days after winning a mayoral election in the northern French port city of Le Havre. He took up his new post on Sunday. The now former PM joined the Macron government in May 2017.

French prosecutors announced Friday that they would launch an inquiry into the Philippe government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with former health minister Agnes Buzyn and her successor Olivier Veran to be investigated along with Philippe for possible unintentional crimes. The complaints were said to have been related mostly to the lack of protective equipment and overall lack of safety provisions for medical workers.

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