The French president brought some relative unknowns into his top team to replace those who had resigned amid a funding scandal
Amid a wave of resignations, Wednesday saw France get its second government line-up since President Emmanuel Macron took office in May.
The string of departures meant that the reshuffle was more extensive than originally planned, with a group of relative unknowns making their entrance.
Among them were law expert Nicole Belloubet who becomes justice minister, replacing political veteran Francois Bayrou who quit earlier in the day.
He and other key centrist allies of the new President, all from the MoDem Party, have stepped down amid a judicial investigation into claims it misused EU parliamentary funds.
For Macron, the resignation of François Bayrou as justice minister may amount to short-term pain but long-term gain https://t.co/Y6gm9rK473— POLITICO Europe (@POLITICOEurope) 21 juin 2017
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.
Macron’s Republic on the Move party won 308 seats in the 577-strong National Assembly in Sunday’s parliamentary elections, while MoDem gained 42.
Businesswoman Florence Parly, who worked previously in a Socialist government and for major French transport companies, gets the defence portfolio.
Macron reshuffles Cabinet, boosts women to top posts https://t.co/bxo7BSv8appic.twitter.com/8nU397SGgU— FRANCE 24 English (@France24_en) 21 juin 2017
Parly takes over from Sylvie Goulard – the first MoDem Minister to throw in the towel.
Another MoDem figure who has gone is European Affairs Minister Marielle de Sarnez.
Those concerned in the MoDem scandal deny wrongdoing as does Macron’s right-hand man Richard Ferrand who vacated his ministerial post in the Territorial Planning department earlier this week amid a separate financial scandal.
He is replaced by Jacques Mezard who moves from the Agriculture Ministry where he, in turn, is replaced by Macron loyalist Stephane Travert.
After winning the presidency amid pledges to clean up politics, this is not the start the new head of state would have wanted.
But Macron’s new team stays true to his key message of bringing together people from the left, right and centre, women and men, including many from outside politics.