PARIS (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron, whose government has been shaken by a spate of resignations and whose popularity has fallen in the polls, reshuffled his cabinet on Tuesday, moving a close ally into the Interior Ministry.
Most of the other moves were in less high-profile positions, including a new agriculture minister and culture minister.
Below our profiles of some of the major ministerial posts after the reshuffle:
PRIME MINISTER EDOUARD PHILIPPE, 47
Philippe retains his job as prime minister. The former conservative mayor of Le Havre was little known on the national political scene until Macron plucked him from obscurity to lead his government last year.
His political experience has helped him in past weeks guide Macron through a turbulent period that analysts say have exposed the president’s political rawness.
Although a little more popular than Macron, the boxing fan’s approval ratings in opinion polls have also fallen sharply in past months. He served as head of public affairs for state nuclear giant Areva between 2007 and 2010.
CHRISTOPHE CASTANER, 52, MOVES TO INTERIOR MINISTRY
The Provence-born former Socialist was one of Macron’s earliest backers, winning a place in the president’s inner circle during the campaign.
After a few months as the government’s spokesman, Castaner was named as leader of Macron’s fledgling Republique En Marche party. He has spearheaded Macron’s efforts to forge alliances with like-minded parties across Europe ahead of European Parliament elections next year.
Castaner moves to the Interior Ministry, taking over from Gerard Collomb, whose resignation earlier this month gave rise to the reshuffle. The post is a sensitive one; in moving Castaner into it, Macron rewards a close ally while keeping someone he trusts in a critical, senior portfolio.
JEAN-YVES LE DRIAN, 71, REMAINS AS FOREIGN MINISTER
One of the few career politicians in Macron’s government, Le Drian acquired a reputation as a safe pair of hands under the previous Socialist administration, during which he served as defense minister.
A driving force behind France’s counter-terrorism operations in West Africa and the Middle East, he was also credited with leading a resurgence in French weapons’ exports, including the first exports of the Rafale fighter jet.
As foreign minister, he has kept a distinctly low profile, refraining from the rhetoric often associated with French diplomacy. The former university history teacher has spent over 35 years in politics and was president of the Brittany region.
BRUNO LE MAIRE, 49, REMAINS AS FINANCE MINISTER
Bruno Le Maire is a German-speaking center-right politician whose expertise on Europe and staunch defense of the Franco-German relationship made him Macron’s main negotiator with the German government over his ambitious euro zone reform plans.
A reform-minded conservative, Le Maire has steered Macron’s drive to lighten the government touch on the economy and cut red-tape, and is overseeing a push to privatize airports and other state-controlled companies.
A diplomat early in his career, Le Maire served as minister under former president Nicolas Sarkozy and ran in The Republicans party primary in the 2017 presidential race, but scored poorly. He broke ranks with the conservatives after publicly backing Macron the night he was elected president.
He has written several novels, including one describing a steamy scene between a minister and his wife in Venice.
GERALD DARMANIN, 36, REMAINS PUBLIC ACCOUNTS MINISTER
One of the youngest members in Macron’s government at 36, the conservative and former Sarkozy ally has become a rising star in the cabinet.
His acute political sense, working-class background - he is the son of a cleaning lady of Algerian descent - and reputation as a plain speaker have made him popular with the public at a time Macron faces accusations of being aloof and out of touch.
As budget minister, he is in charge of overseeing Macron’s pledge to cut public spending and can claim credit for bringing the budget deficit below the EU-mandated limit of 3 percent of GDP last year, the first time in a decade for France.
Reporting by Michel Rose; editing by Richard Lough
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