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French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe resigns as Macron vows to move on with ‘new team’

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe resigns as Macron vows to move on with ‘new team’
Edouard Philippe has stepped down as Prime Minister, but will handle “current affairs” until a new cabinet is appointed, the French President's office announced on Friday.

President Emmanuel Macron accepted Philippe’s resignation earlier on Friday, the French presidency confirmed. The outgoing premier, who assumed office back in 2017, will ensure, along with the members of his government, “the handling of current affairs until the appointment of the new government.”

The developments come after Macron vowed to “reinvent” his presidency, hinting at the looming cabinet reshuffle. On Thursday, he announced that “a new team” will be placed behind taking care of economic recovery and reconstruction.

French president’s office didn’t give any reason for Philippe’s departure. There was also no indication that the politician would be re-appointed by the President – a practice seen in France’s cabinet reshuffles on several occasions.

BFMTV reported the new Prime Minister will be named “in the coming hours.”

According to the news outlet, Philippe himself said he intends to become Mayor of Havre, a city where he served for seven years before being propelled to the second-most influential position of the French Republic.

While the actual background to his resignation still remains an enigma, there are signs that President Macron is about to chart a new course, focusing more on social and environmental issues. That would apparently allow him to drift away from a perception that his government is staunchly pro-business and neoliberal.

A native of Rouen, Philippe worked for municipal politicians in the early 2000s while rising through the ranks of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), which later became the Republicans (LR). He then campaigned for Macron’s La Republique En Marche! (LaREM) party before being appointed prime minister in May 2017.

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