France's Macron taps newcomers for reshuffle as conservatives split

# 22 June 2017 03:05 (UTC +04:00)

French President Emmanuel Macron put a group of relative unknowns, some from outside politics, into ministerial roles on Wednesday to replace those that left under a cloud just weeks into his tenure, APA reports quoting Reuters.

The new appointments came as France's main conservative party splintered under the impact of Macron's sudden rise to presidential and parliamentary power, and the seismic shift it has caused continues to reverberate around French politics.

Businesswoman Florence Parly, who worked previously in a Socialist government and for major French transport companies, was named defense minister, and law expert Nicole Belloubet was nominated justice minister, replacing two of the departed.

Jacques Mezard moved from the Agriculture Ministry to the territorial planning ministry vacated by Macron's right-hand man Richard Ferrand earlier this week. Macron loyalist Stephane Travert took over the agriculture portfolio.

Macron's reshuffle, tapping more people from the non-political world, reflects the profile of many of his newly elected members of parliament.

It also keeps a fragile balance of people from left, right and center and has one more women than men.

The reshuffle came after a group of ministers from an affiliated centrist party, MoDem, resigned over allegations the party misused European parliamentary funds.

Those who departed the justice and defense ministries were, respectively, Francois Bayrou, MoDem party leader, and Sylvie Goulard - who had been seen as a key plank of Macron's plan for closer ties with Germany.

Bayrou, a Macron ally since endorsing his centrist bid for the presidency in February, said he quit to protect the government from the scandal that has engulfed him.

"I will stand by the president and faithfully support him with a political and personal understanding that is dear to me," Bayrou told journalists.