Not going anywhere! Emmanuel Macron’s power grab exposed in bid to strengthen his position

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The President conducted a bold shake up in government last week after his potential rival, Edouard Philippe resigned as prime minister. Some had viewed Mr Philippe as a potential challenger to the French President and had seen his own popularity increase amid the coronavirus crisis. In his place, Mr Macron appointed Jean Castex, a little-known politician who had led the country’s exit strategy from the coronavirus pandemic.

An insider of Mr Macron’s government told a French news publication the President had chosen someone with little national political experience in order to cement his position.

The insider said: “Macron has decided to combine the two posts: he will be president and prime minister at the same time.”

In a further move to solidify his authority, Mr Macron appointed one of his closest allies, Nicolas Revel as the director of the cabinet.

Former Prime Minister, Francois Hollande also commented on the move, questioning whether the true purpose of the position had now been removed.

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He tweeted: “Without prejudging the qualities of the new prime minister, we can wonder if we have now just removed its function.”

Christian Jacob, leader of the Conservative Republicans, also hit out at the decision, claiming the new prime minister was a nonentity.

He said: “After the coronavirus crisis, we have a President incapable of setting a course who has chosen a nonentity as Prime Minister, who will conduct business in the manner of a company’s that’s going to shut down.”

The reshuffle will be conducted over the next few days as Mr Macron attempts to restore his position amid the yellow vest protests, the coronavirus pandemic and reforms on the state pension.

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Mr Macron’s En Marche party also suffered heavily in France’s municipal elections last month.

Green candidates won a string of seats in France’s biggest cities with experts claiming the political landscape of the country had now completely changed.

On Thursday, Mr Macron pledged to set out a new course for his government as he enters the final two years of his tenure.

Mr Macron told newspapers: “We need to lay out a new path.

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“The new phase entails new goals of independence, reconstruction, reconciliation and new methods.

“Behind that, there will be a new team.”

He also declared he would press on with his controversial reform of the pension system.

France has a complex system of 42 different pension schemes for its private and public sectors.

Mr Macron, however, wants to create a unified system.

The plans sparked protests across the country and put a dent into his own popularity in France.


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