Macron picks opposition member as new French Prime Minister

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Macron picks opposition member as new French Prime Minister

"It is the first time in modern political history in France that a president has appointed a prime minister out of his camp without being forced to do so by the loss of parliamentary elections", Reuters reports.

"We each represent the interests of our own countries, but the interests of Germany are naturally closely tied to the interests of France", Merkel said. Philippe is also relatively unknown to voters, fulfilling Macron's campaign promise to repopulate French politics with new faces.

Edouard Philippe, 46, is a lawmaker and is the mayor of the port city of Le Havre, and is part of the moderate center-right party, the Republicans. Additionally, it should also be noted that the center-left Socialist party received roughly six percent of the votes in the first round of the presidential contest, making the center-right the richer pond in which Macron can fish.

If Macron's La Republique en Marche! party does not win a majority in the National Assembly, the new president will have to strike deals to win support for Philippe and for his government programme.

Mr Philippe is close to Alain Juppe, a former prime minister who campaigned for the French presidency, but was beaten in a primary.

The ex-prime minister added he had considered "quitting" politics after last week's humiliating turn of events, but said he could not bring himself to do so because he did not want to be a "spectator" and was "needed" in Parliament.

Speed is becoming one of Macron's trademarks.

According to Yves-Marie Cann, the director of political studies at Elabe research company, Philippe's experience as an elected official, especially in a local community, would be an important contribution to the new government of President Emmanuel Macron.

As well as the political coup of poaching Philippe from the right, Macron is also siphoning off support from lawmakers on the left.

Philippe's nomination is a direct challenge to The Republicans (LR), who say they aim to be the biggest party in the lower house of parliament but are lagging behind REM in the first opinion polls ahead of that ballot.

But not everyone was pleased with Philippe's announcement. Defeated by a Macron landslide, she denounced what she predicted would be a continuation of old policies, including "austerity, submission to Brussels, massive immigration".

The populist Le Pen said her National Front party is now the only "true opposition" for June legislative elections.

After conservative hopeful Francois Fillon lost the first round of the presidential election in April, the Le Havre mayor urged his supporters to back Macron. Melenchon urged them not to give Macron a parliamentary majority. He can deal with both the left and the right parties, because he has worked with both [he participated in the campaign of Michel Rocard (socialist party), the prime minister under Francois Mitterrand].

"The world and Europe need more than ever France, and a strong France, which speaks out loudly for freedom and solidarity", Macron declared. Macron previously met Merkel when he visited Berlin in March as a candidate. 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.

Among names being bandied around for the top job in Macron's first government, speculation is mostly centering on Edouard Philippe.

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