Macron mixes political shades in ministerial appointments

Macron mixes political shades in ministerial appointments

PARIS: France's centrist President Emmanuel Macron named his government on Wednesday, appointing a mix of political hues to the top jobs as part of his promise to bridge the right-left divide.

Having already made conservative Edouard Philippe his prime minister earlier in the week, Macron's pick for economy minister was Bruno Le Maire a pro-European, German-speaking rightist from Philippe's The Republicans (LR) party. Le Maire is a free-marketeer and a heavyweight in the LR party, which he has urged to cooperate with the 39-year-old president while others refuse such an alliance.

For interior minister, Macron picked Gerard Collomb, the mayor of Lyon who was one of the first Socialists to support him.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, outgoing Socialist defence minister and a close friend of ex-President Francois Hollande, was named foreign minister and minister for Europe.

"This shows Europe is the priority," a French diplomatic source said. "He's very serious and well-liked but doesn't know that much about foreign affairs."

The foreign ministry portfolio does not usually officially include Europe. In another nod to the importance of Europe for Macron, Sylvie Goulard, a centrist lawmaker in the European Parliament who speaks four languages and is better known in Brussels than in Paris, was named defence minister.