Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, August 14th, 2020

France’s Macron Picks New Prime Minister to Reinvent Presidency

France’s Macron Picks New Prime  Minister to Reinvent Presidency

PARIS - President Emmanuel Macron named Jean Castex, a top civil servant and local mayor who orchestrated France’s coronavirus lockdown exit strategy, as his new prime minister on Friday as he acted to reinvent his administration and win back voters.
Castex, 55, hails from the centre-right of French politics and served for two years as the second-highest ranking official in the Elysee Palace during Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency.
An Elysee official described Castex as a senior civil servant whose experience in local politics would help Macron connect with provincial France. Castex was a “social Gaullist”, the official said in reference to the more interventionist, socially minded wing of France’s centre-right.
The announcement followed the resignation of Edouard Philippe ahead of a widely anticipated overhaul of the government by Macron.
Macron is reshaping his government as France grapples with the deepest economic depression since World War Two, a sharp downturn that will shrink the economy by about 11% in 2020 and reverse hard-fought gains on unemployment.
Investors will be watching to see if Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who has overseen reforms to liberalise the economy and spent big to keep companies like Air France (AIRF.PA) and Renault (RENA.PA) afloat during the crisis, keeps his job.
“The return from summer holidays will be difficult, we must get ready,” Macron told regional newspapers in an interview published late on Thursday.
Macron and Philippe dined together on Wednesday and met on Thursday. The Elysee source described Thursday’s discussions as warm and friendly. Both men agreed on “the need for a new government to embody the next phase, a new path,” the aide said.  (Reuters)