France: new Prime Minister Jean Castex appoints his government

Paris | New French Prime Minister Jean Castex unveiled the composition of his new government on Monday, a key step in President Emmanuel Macron’s attempt to revive two years before the end of his mandate.

Jean Castex, unknown to the general public, mayor of a small town in the south of the country and from the right like his predecessor Edouard Philippe, was appointed Prime Minister on Friday by Mr. Macron.

After three years in power, controversial reforms like those of unemployment insurance, several crises (demonstrations of yellow vests), the French president had announced a need, in his words, to “reinvent itself”, when he did is not very popular and that the country is preparing to suffer a strong economic impact as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Decided to accelerate the pace to make forget the debacle of the ruling party, La République en Marche (LREM), during the municipal elections of June 28, the new executive couple should appoint a government of twenty ministers, according to the Élysée .

Speculation is rife. Noting that participation in this government would only have “meaning” if it could lead a “more social, more ecological, more democratic” policy, the former Socialist Minister and former candidate for the presidential election Ségolène Royal claimed to have been contacted on Saturday. An assertion denied by a source close to the head of state.

New talents

Macron’s entourage said there would be “new talent” and “people from different backgrounds” in the new government.

Emmanuel Macron recalled in tweets Sunday the main lines of the last part of his five-year term that a “mission and rallying government” will have to implement: “reviving the economy, continuing to overhaul our social protection and environment, re-establishment of a just republican order “or” defense of European sovereignty “.

Priorities which he should detail during a new intervention on the National Day of July 14, reviving a presidential tradition he had suppressed.

The Prime Minister will present his program “a few days later,” according to those close to Emmanuel Macron.

Opposition leaders have criticized the choice of a stranger like Castex as that of a president who wants to have all the cards in hand to prepare for the 2022 presidential election without being embarrassed by a Prime Minister who would make him shade.

Castex made his first outing on Saturday to a struggling high-tech company, where he said “the epidemic is game-changing.” He notably stressed the need to “relocate” industrial jobs, but also argued that ecology is “not an option” but “an obligation”.

Sunday evening, the new Prime Minister paid a surprise visit to police officers from La Courneuve, in the northern suburbs of Paris. He made a point of assuring them of the government’s “unfailing support” for the police and its commitment to “public security”, in the midst of a controversy over police violence.

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