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Macron names centre-right politician Edouard Philippe prime minister

media New French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe AFP

France's new President Eammanul Macron has name centre-right politician Edouard Philippe prime minister. Philippe, described as brilliant but arrogant, will head an interim government until the June general election.

Macron named Philippe prime minister the day after being sworn in as French president, leaving for Berlin to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel immediately afterwards.

The 46-year-old MP  is also mayor of the Channel port Le Havre.

He is a member of the mainstream right Republicans party and close to Alain Juppé, the former prime minister on the liberal wing of the party who failed to be selected as its presidential candidate.

Juppé wished him good luck after the announcement, judging that Philippe had "all the qualities" necessary for the role.

Republicans secretary-general Bernard Accoyer said Philippe's decision to accept the job was an "individual" one and not agreed by the party, dodging questions as to whether it would lead to Philippe's expulsion.

Macron's choice is a challenge to the mainstream right party and could be followed by the appointment of other members to the interim government, for example former ministers Bruno Le Maire and Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet.

Its lineup should be announced on Tuesday.

Defining himself as "neither left-wing, nor right-wing", Macron has already helped push the Socialist Party, which leads the outgoing government, deeper into a crisis, sparked by discontent with its record in power.

The list of candidates that his Republic on the Move! party announced last week left 148 constituencies vacant, an invitation to mainstream party MPs to break ranks.


Who is Edouard Philippe?

Here are 12 things you may want to know about bFrance's new prime minister:

  • Born in Rouen in 1970;
  • Married to Edith Chabre with three children;
  • A qualified lawyer, he has worked at the Constitutional Council, the American firm Debevoise & Plimpton and the Areva nuclear company;
  • Studied at the prestigious Sciences Po university adn top administrative school Ena;
  • Joined the Socialist Party to support former prime minister Michel Rocard while a student, leaving after two years;
  • Became a local councillor in Le Havre becoming deputy to right-wing mayor Antoine Rufenacht;
  • Worked with Alain Juppé to found the UMP, which has since become the Republicans, in 2002;
  • Elected an MP in 2002 and mayor of Le Havre in 2010;
  • Cowritten to detective stories with fellow politician Gilles Boyer;
  • Fan of Wintston Churchill, Bruce Springsteen and M&Ms;
  • Refused to declare the value of his real estate assets, as required by law, on his 2014 parliamentary wealth declaration, according to the Mediapart website;
  • His chief characteristics are "arrogance, an excess of self-confidence and immoderate ambition" by journalist Gaël Tchakaloff in her book on Juppé Lapins et Merveilles (Rabbits and Marvels).

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