PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron reshuffled his cabinet on Tuesday, appointing a loyalist to the key post of Interior Minister and naming relatively unknown profiles to the Agriculture and Culture ministries in a bid to reboot his presidency.
The moves, unveiled this morning, create new stewards for multiple ministries, while preserving the cross-ideological make-up of Macrons “neither right, nor left” administration. It also puts an end to rife speculation over the fate of several ministers that has dominated domestic media coverage for nearly two weeks.
After the insistant resignation on October 3 of ex-Interior Minister Gérard Collomb, who opted to return to his hometown and run for mayor in Lyon, Macron was expected to rejigger his administration with broad personnel changes. But the reboot dragged on for 13 days, requiring three postponements, as 5 candidates reportedly refused ministerial posts. Prime Minister Édouard Philippe was forced to take on Collombs duties as the interim Interior Secretary, adding visits to police units to crowded daily agendas.
Macron has now settled on Christophe Castaner, one of his most staunch allies and leader of the French presidents centrist La République en Marche (LREM) party, to become Frances new interior minister. Castaner will no longer be in charge of the ruling party. The selection puts a Macron loyalist in the prestigious post dubbed as “Frances top cop.”
Also promoted in the new line-up is Didier Guillaume, a Socialist senator who will take the reins of the Agriculture Ministry from Stéphane Travert, likewise of Socialist stock. The latter official sunk in public view after popular ex-Environmental Minister Nicolas Hulot cited his opposition to an early phase out of controversial weedkiller glyphosate in his resignation.
Embattled Culture Minister Françoise Nyssen, who faced probes into undeclared building renovations, is also on the out. Her replacement at the Culture Ministry, MP Franck Riester, is a one-time Sarkozyste who in 2017 split off to found the Act party, which aligns with the “constructive right.”
Other moves include the promotion of Jacqueline Gourault as minister for territorial cohesion, Julien Denormandie as minister for cities and housing and Marc Fesneau as minister for relations with parliament. Digital Minister Mounir Mahjoubi, whose division has been restructured, will now report to Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.
The new government respects gender parity, consisting of 17 men and 17 women.