Edouard named as French premier

Newly inaugurated centrist President Emmanuel Macron appointed on Monday conservative Edouard Philippe as prime minister, an unprecedented move in postwar France in the voluntary choice of a head of government from outside the president's party.

The mayor of Le Havre since 2010, Mr Philippe previously worked as a director of public affairs for French nuclear group Areva from 2007-2010 and as a lawyer from 2004-2007 with New York City-based worldwide law firm Debevoise and Plimpton LLP.

But his year-old party faces a strong challenge from the losers of the presidential election, with the Republicans, Le Pen s National Front, the hard-left France Insoumise (France Unbowed) and centre-left Socialists all plotting revenge.

Now Mr Macron, a staunch Brussels supporter, will arrive in Berlin this morning armed with ideas for labour reform rather than a eurozone overhaul.

The 46-year-old's appointment was announced in a short statement outside the Elysee palace on Monday.

Merkel said at the weekend she wanted close cooperation with Macron and that their two countries would do everything to shape European policy.

Le Pen had her own take on the Philippe appointment, saying that it will mean the same narrative that has dominated France over decades.

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Philippe won out to some other, perhaps more politically aligned, potential nominees, including former Socialist Richard Ferrand, who has been a loyal supporter of Macron since he established his independent movement past year. He traveled to Berlin a day after being sworn in, continuing a tradition of French presidents making their first foreign trip to Germany.

Macron, a former minister and investment banker, was elected as the country's youngest-ever leader since Napoleon on May 7.

Macron's party Le Republique en Marche has unveiled more than 400 candidates for June's elections.

New French President Emmanuel Macron waves to supporters after a ceremony at the Arc of Triomphe following his formal inauguration ceremony as French President Sunday, May 14, 2017 in Paris.

Philippe, the mayor of the Normandy port of Le Havre, is a trained lawyer and an author of political thrillers.

A year ago he was part of Mr Juppe's unsuccessful campaign team in The Republicans' primaries, and then joined the presidential campaign of Francois Fillon, the party's nominee. She built a solid relationship with Macron's predecessor, Socialist Francois Hollande, despite their political differences - notably with their joint effort to secure an accord to calm the fighting in eastern Ukraine in tense talks in Minsk, Belarus in 2015.

Mr. Philippe's early political leanings were with the Socialist Party, but later he came to be associated with former President Jacques Chirac and former centre-right Prime Minister Alain Juppe's Union for a Popular Movement.

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