Macron appoints architect of Covid lockdown easing as new PM

(Update 1: adds details of new prime minister, re-ledes, alters headline.)

Paris, Jul 3 (efe-epa).- French president Emmanuel Macron on Friday appointed a senior civil servant who handled the easing of the coronavirus lockdown as the country’s new prime minister following the resignation of Édouard Philippe.

Jean Castex, 55, has previously served in several French ministries but was a relatively unknown figure in French politics until his prominent role managing the Covid-19 crisis.

Philippe had tendered his resignation earlier in the day as Macron sought to remodel his government following poor results in the local elections.

Macron confirmed in an interview with local press on Friday morning that he sought to shake up his government but stopped short of revealing his plans for Philippe.

During the recent municipal elections, Philippe was re-elected to his former post as the mayor of the northern port city of Le Havre, a role he is set to officially resume on Saturday.

The remodeling of the French government could take several days.

Macron has on several occasions expressed his desire to shift the liberal La République en Marche government towards a greener manifesto, especially given the success of green candidates in the local vote.

Candidates presented by the Europe Ecologie Les Verts (EELV) won in major cities like Lyon and Bordeaux, as well as Strasbourg, Annecy and Tours.

Macron’s LREM was punished at the polls.

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