Emmanuel Macron has appointed Bruno Le Maire, a member of rival rightwing Les Republicains party as economy minister as France’s centrist president seeks to maximise his chances to win a majority in parliament in June.
The poaching, which was announced on Wednesday when the Elysee unveiled the names of the 22-strong cabinet, follow the appointment of Edouard Philippe, also a Republican party member, on Monday.
Mr Le Maire, 48, is a former agriculture minister under rightwing president Nicolas Sarkozy. Sylvie Goulard, a centrist MEP and early supporter of Mr Macron, was appointed defense minister while Francois Bayrou, the leader of the centrist Modem party, becomes Justice minister. Former Socialist defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was appointed as foreign minister also in charge of the EU, while Gerard Collomb, the Socialist mayor of Lyon, becomes interior minister.
Mr Macron needs to destabilise the established parties that have shared power in the country for the past four decades to secure a majority for his year old “La République en Marche” party in the legislative elections on June 11 and 18.
While defections from the Socialist Party have flooded after its presidential candidate Benoît Hamon took just 6.5 per cent of the vote in the presidential elections, conservatives have remained more disciplined. Bruised by the ill-fated campaign of their nominee, Francois Fillon, under investigation on suspicion of embezzlement, the Republicans believe they can still win a significant share of seats in the National Assembly by tapping into centre-right voters’ frustrations, an established network of locally elected officials and the inexperience of Mr Macron’s party, whose parliamentary candidates are mostly political novices.