The 55-year-old was named successor to the popular Edouard Philippe on Friday as Macron seeks a new start. The country is facing a deep recession which should reduce its economy by 11%, canceling out any gain from the pro-business reforms it has implemented during the first three years of its mandate.
The president tweeted Sunday that he was aiming for a “new path” focused on “reviving the economy, continuing to overhaul social and environmental protections, re-establishing a fair republican order and defending European sovereignty.” ”
The Elysée Palace promising “new faces and new talents”, several key ministers could be replaced, including the much criticized Christophe Castaner at the Ministry of the Interior, the Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire and Jean-Yves Le Drian and Florence Parly for Foreign Affairs and Defense.
The environment will also be a key portfolio, given the recent good performance of the Greens, who took control of several of the largest cities in France during the municipal elections last month.
Observers have said that by replacing Philippe with Castex, who also comes from the center-right party Les Républicains (LR), Macron had taken a high-level gamble by taking more total control of the government in the past two years. his presidency.
With most of Macron’s efforts since 2017 to create jobs, stimulate investment and release the workforce “likely to be buried by an avalanche of bad news”, the president “has indeed decided to be his own Prime Minister in the last two years of his term, “said Mujtaba Rahman, CEO of Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy.
Castex, who speaks with a marked southwest accent that the Élysée Palace hopes to connect with ordinary people, “will be the de facto director and chief of staff, while Macron will take direct control of the government in a flash attempt to create a new record that he can present to the electorate in 2022, ”said Rahman.
Bruno Cautrès, a researcher at the Cevipof think tank, said on French radio that the president must act quickly. “He is 60% thanks to his mandate,” said Cautrès. “He has very little time to translate his policies into concrete differences in people’s daily lives.”
The new Prime Minister “will have to move up a gear, especially on the economic front, faced with a probable context this fall of rising unemployment, young people entering the job market… He must show that this change of Prime Minister was useful “.
Many analysts had predicted that Macron would choose his new prime minister on the left-most pro-ecology side of French politics, particularly after a disappointing performance by his centrist party La République en Marche (LREM) in last month’s elections.
Much of the French left believes that the president, having promised a policy that was “neither right nor left,” has drifted to the right since winning the 2017 presidential and parliamentary elections.
But center-right voters, on the whole, applauded his firm conduct of anti-government yellow vests (yellow vests) protest and support LREM during last year’s European elections. “He is counting on them, it seems to me, for his re-election in 2022,” Jean Garrigues, political scientist at the University of Orleans, told Agence France-Presse.
LREM did not win a single big city in local elections, depriving the president of a powerful local power base before 2022. The most notable victory was Philippe’s convincing victory in his Norman stronghold of Le Havre, where he emerged as a potential rival to Macron in the years to come.
The president’s entourage has suggested that he plans to announce the main lines of action for the rest of his term in a televised speech, probably on July 14. Castex is expected to leave detailed announcements of its government’s program to Parliament until the end of next week.