In France, the president – the main political figure – chooses the Prime Minister, who then forms the government.
As such, the resignation paves the way for a cabinet reshuffle.
It comes after speculation that Macron was preparing a reshuffle to focus on the post-coronavirus economic recovery. Macron had to decide whether or not Philippe should leave, since the Prime Minister had become more popular among the electorate in the aftermath of the pandemic than the president himself.
Macron will face a new presidential election in 2022 and the rest of his term is likely to be severely affected by the ongoing health and economic crises.
Speaking earlier this month, Macron said, “With this epidemic, the global economy has come to a virtual standstill. Our first priority will be to rebuild a strong, ecological, sovereign and united economy. ”
The French central bank said in June that it expects the country’s economy to contract by 10.3% this year, before returning to growth in 2021 and 2022.
Macron was elected in 2017 on a pro-European platform and a reformist program, promising to make the French labor market less rigid. He created his own centrist party, La République en Marche!, As an alternative to the conservative Les Républicains and the Left Socialist Party – the two main groups that had hitherto dominated French politics.
Edouard Philippe, relatively unknown to the public before being appointed by Macron, is a center-right politician.