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Macron appoints loyal backer as Interior Minister

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French President Emmanuel Macron. (File Photo: IANS) by .
French President Emmanuel Macron.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday named Christophe Castaner, one of his main backers, as the new Interior Minister, replacing Gerard Collomb in his latest Cabinet reshuffle…reports Asian Lite News

French President Emmanuel Macron. (File Photo: IANS) by .
French President Emmanuel Macron.

In a statement, the President’s office said that “following the proposal of Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, the President of the Republic … named Christophe Castaner as Interior Minister”.

Castaner had been Macron’s spokesperson during his campaign for the presidential election in 2017, before being appointed Secretary of State for parliamentary relations.

In Macron’s first Cabinet after the election, 52-year-old lawyer Castaner was named leader of the ruling camp “Republique En Marche” party. He also served a few months as the government’s spokesman.

The nomination of Castaner came after Collomb announced in September that he would quit the government in mid 2019 to run for the Lyon municipal elections in 2020. He served as Lyon’s Mayor from 2001 to 2017.

On October 3, Macron accepted Collomb’s resignation after initially refusing it and asked the Prime Minister to handle the interior portfolio until a successor was announced.

In the latest Cabinet reshuffle, the fourth since he took power in May 2017, Macron had brought in new names with different political views with which he hoped to regain his footing and inject fresh impetus into his ruling camp.

Among the newcomers, socialist Didier Guillaume was named Agriculture Minister, replacing Stephane Travert. Marc Fesneau, President of the centrist MoDem group at the National Assembly, will take charge of parliamentary relations.

Meanwhile, Macron kept the main figures of the ministerial team in place for 16 months with Jean-Yves Le Drian still overseeing the Foreign Affairs Ministry and Bruno Le Maire remaining in charge of the Economy Ministry.

Dogged by opponents for having a vertical, monarchical way of governing and a reputation for arrogance, Macron suffered a further setback after a series of resignations that put his political craftiness into question.

Collomb was the third minister to step down in five weeks after the resignations of Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot and Sports Minister Laura Flessel.

A BVA poll released in September showed 32 per cent holding a favourable view of Macron, down by two percentage points for the third consecutive month.

The new Cabinet will hold its first meeting on Wednesday.