Macron names Edouard Philippe as French prime minister

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The 69-year-old Le Drian is a longstanding close friend of former Socialist President Francois Hollande, a rare popular minister in Hollande's deeply unpopular government and an experienced political heavyweight by the standards of some of his new ministerial colleagues.

Paris: Emmanuel Macron became France's youngest ever president, taking over from socialist Francois Hollande in a solemn ceremony on Sunday.

Emmanuel Macron's support for the Paris bid is seen as symbolically important, and his decision to meet Tuesday with the visiting International Olympic Committee delegation was one of his first moves since taking office Sunday.

It's a delicate balancing act, as Macron tries to redesign French politics by borrowing ministers from left and right and new faces.

Philippe is a member of the mainstream-right Republicans party and could possibly attract other Republicans to Macron's cause, as the centrist president works to piece together a majority in parliament to pass his promised economic reforms. The 64-year-old launched Macron's political career, plucking him from the world of investment banking to be an adviser and then his economy minister.

French newspapers have reported that Mr Bayrou and Mr Philippe both insisted on naming a certain number of ministers.

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"We each represent the interests of our own countries, but the interests of Germany are naturally closely tied to the interests of France", Merkel said.

Macron's trip to Berlin, his first as president, signals his intent to also move rapidly on campaign promises to revive support for the European Union by reforming and strengthening it. He'll meet Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni on Wednesday evening in Paris.

The French legislative elections are scheduled to take place on June 11 and June 18. His politics have been described as liberal and progressive, though he has said he hopes to transcend the divides of the left and right political parties.

By becoming president with no established party backing he has already thrown traditional party loyalties into the air, and early poll predictions show his start-up Republic on the Move (REM) party will have more lower house seats than any other.

François Fillon, former prime minister of France and a practicing Catholic, shocked pundits and political commentators throughout the country when he pulled ahead in the Republican party and beat out the moderate former Prime Minister Alain Juppe (himself a self-described "agnostic Catholic") by a wide margin. Christophe Castaner, Macron's campaign spokesman, was appointed government spokesman. "We have serious differences: He wants to raise taxes, we want to cut income tax".

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