Macron tightens his grip with change of prime minister

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The composition of a new French government was announced on Monday evening, following the appointment on Friday of a largely unknown senior civil servant and longstanding conservative, Jean Castex, as France’s new prime minister. He replaced Édouard Philippe, who served in the post since Emmanuel Macron’s election in 2017.  Mediapart political correspondent Ellen Salvi dresses here a portrait of the new prime minister, and chronicles the tensions that led to the departure of Philippe.

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It was after weeks of rumour over an impending government reshuffle that Édouard Philippe, who served three years as France’s prime minister ever since the election of Emmanuel Macron as president in May 2017, was replaced on Friday by Jean Castex, a senior civil servant, largely unknown to the public, who most recently played a key role in coordinating preparations for the gradual lifting in May of the shutdown  measures introduced to contain the Covid-19 virus epidemic.