18 January 2021,   07:20
French PM Édouard Philippe and his government resign as Macron prepares cabinet reshuffle

French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe resigned on Friday ahead of a government reshuffle by President Emmanuel Macron designed to bolster his green credentials and win back disillusioned voters ahead of a possible re-election bid.

The Élysée Palace said in a statement that Philippe would handle government affairs until a new cabinet was named. It later said a new French prime minister would be named within the next few hours.

Questions over Philippe’s job have swirled since mid-June when Macron declared he wanted to “reinvent” his presidency.

In French government reshuffles, the prime minister tenders his or her resignation ahead of cabinet appointments but can still be re-named to the position. It was not immediately clear whether Philippe would be called upon to form the new government.

Macron’s move to refashion his centrist government comes after voters punished the former investment banker and his party in nationwide municipal elections.

The elections, which concluded Sunday in run-off votes long-delayed by coronavirus, revealed surging support for the Green party and underlined Macron’s troubles with left-leaning voters.