French President Macron set to name Prime Minister on first day

FRENCH PRESIDENT Emmanuel Macron is beginning his first day as French president, with picking a prime minster top of his to do list.

Emmanuel Macron

The appointment is crucial for Mr Macron, who needs to do well in next month’s parliamentary elections to push through his planned economic reforms.

Later he will travel to Germany to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The 39-year-old former investment banker and economy minister was inaugurated yesterday in a ceremony at the Élysée Palace.

He promised to convince people that “the power of France is not declining – that we are on the brink of a great renaissance”.

Mr Macron has kept his choice of prime minister a closely guarded secret, but the BBC’s Hugh Schofield in Paris says the candidate most hotly tipped is Édouard Philippe, the mayor of Le Havre.

Emmanuel Macron was welcomed at the Élysée Palace by his predecessor, Francois Hollande

Mr Philippe is not a member of the president’s new party – La République En Marche – but of the centre-right Republicans.

This is significant, our correspondent says, because it would mean Mr Macron is trying to draw into his camp more leading figures from the conservative opposition.

The visit to Mrs Merkel is expected to be a cordial one, with President Macron having strong pro-EU views.

He has said he wants to reform the eurozone, giving it a common budget and its own finance minister, but he will need German backing.

For its part, Germany wants to see France carry out structural changes such as reducing public spending and reforming its rigid labour market.

France's new First Lady Brigitte Trogneux has received much press attention

Mr Macron has promised such reforms as he tries to revive the economy and reduce unemployment, but to realise them his party will need a majority in parliament.

République en Marche recently unveiled more than 400 candidates for June’s elections. Many have never held elected office before.

Mr Macron was sworn-in as president a week after his victory over the National Front’s Marine le Pen, with 66% of the vote in the run-off poll.

He had never contested an election before and only formed his centrist movement a year ago.

Mr Macron is France’s youngest leader since Napoleon and the first to be born after 1958, when a presidential system was set up.

TRENDING: Emmanuel Macron to be sworn in as French president

Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron will be France’s youngest leader since Napoleon

Tight security is in place across Paris for the inauguration of Emmanuel Macron as France’s president.

Mr Macron, an independent, won a resounding victory in last weekend’s second round of voting against the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

The former investment banker had never contested an election before and only formed his centrist political movement a year ago.

Mr Macron takes over from outgoing President Francois Hollande.

Hundreds of extra police will be on patrol across the French capital while the ceremony is conducted at the Elysee Palace, the president’s official residence.

France has been under a state of emergency since terror attacks in 2015 and a large section of the city centre will be closed to traffic all morning.

Following the handover of power, an inspection of troops will be followed by a 21-gun salute.

Mr Macron will then visit the Arc de Triomphe and lay flowers at the tomb of the unknown soldier.

Emmanuel Macron’s task is to bring about the renewal he’s promised for France, to shake up its old political order, reinvigorate its anaemic economy and bring down unemployment rates, hovering at around 10%.

To achieve all that Mr Macron needs his brand new political party, La Republique En Marche, to secure a large number of seats in next month’s parliamentary elections. Otherwise he will find it hard to push through his planned reforms.

If he fails, he knows he could wind up like his predecessor, the socialist Francois Hollande, who promised to bring change, but ended up being viewed as weak and indecisive, and who leaves office as France’s least popular president of modern times.

At 39, Mr Macron will become France’s youngest leader since Napoleon and the first to be born after 1958, when France’s fifth republic was put in place by President Charles de Gaulle.

Inauguration preparation
Flags lined the Champs-Elysees on Saturday ready for the inauguration

His En Marche political movement was formed just last year and as a new party – La Republique En Marche – will be fielding candidates for almost all of France’s 577 seats in June’s parliamentary elections.

Mr Macron will need a strong presence in parliament to put in place the economic and social reforms he promised voters during his campaign.

He has promised to “work for everyone” and sees his programme as straddling both left and right.

Mr Macron’s first week in office will be busy. He heads for Berlin on Monday to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel and to demonstrate his commitment to the European Union.

He is also expected to name a prime minister.

Mr Macron faces major challenges including high unemployment, especially among France’s young, and low economic growth.

He says his main aims are to boost investment and to set up a “new growth model” that increases social mobility and helps the environment.


American president, Donald Trump promised to work with Emmanuel Macron

Donald trump

Emmanuel Macron surged to victory against Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election on Sunday, you already know.

Ms Le Pen had vowed to ditch the euro and hold a referendum on France’s EU membership, while Mr Macron wants closer cooperation between the bloc’s 28 nations, but that of only stands NOW.

The US president, Donald Trump has however congratulated Mr Macron and said he looked forward to working with him despite not supporting him initially.

Emmanuel Macron and Le Pen

Mr Trump had previously expressed support for Ms Le Pen because she was “strongest on borders, and she’s the strongest on what’s been going on in France”.

In a statement White House press secretary Sean Spicer said: “We congratulate President-elect Macron and the people of France on their successful presidential election. We look forward to working with the new President and continuing our close cooperation with the French government.”