A chief lieutenant for the newly-elected president of France was confirmed Monday and will serve as the country’s Prime Minister. Edouard Philippe, 46, currently a Republican party member of parliament and the mayor of Le Havre, is known as a nonconforming conservative who believes that France “is a land of immigration.”
Philippe will replace the former Prime Minister, Socialist parliament member Bernard Cazeneuve.
Philippe, the son of teachers from Rouen, attended the elite civil service school, ENA, as did Macron. Formerly a committed Socialist, Philippe became a conservative after working in the private sector as an attorney, and as an executive with energy company Areva.
A father of three, Philippe has cast socially conservative votes on a range of issues, including abstaining from voting when parliament passed gay marriage legislation.
In 2015, he insisted on better treatment of immigrants to France, contending that “You have to enforce the law, and at the same time, we are a land of immigration. We are a host country, so we have to make sure things are going well.”
By selecting a conservative as his first minister, the centrist independent President Macron illustrated his determination to reject the traditional left-right divide, and choose colleagues based on merit.
Although he was not a party member at the time, Macron served as an unelected Economy Minister in the Socialist government. He has now established his own party, REM (The Republic On the Move) and claims that anyone who wants to join will be considered.
It is speculated that Philippe’s decision to join REM will attract other Republicans, who are traditionally the main governing or opposition party in France.
As mayor of Le Havre, a major English Channel port, Philippe often lauded the decision to keep the border with Britain closed to asylum seekers to insure that migrants were processed properly in France.
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