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President to reshuffle cabinet in early July

Following a disastrous defeat at the municipal elections, Emmanuel Macron has decided to revamp his cabinet in a bid to embrace a green turnaround. The future of the current prime minister, who was elected mayor in a major city, is also an open question.

In France, the second round of the municipal elections  produced a fair amount of surprise, with Emmanuel Macron's party suffering a humiliating defeat and the Greens winning in several major cities. In its latest issue, the French satirical weekly Le Canard enchaîné comments on the president's disappointment over the results by saying that Macron is now forced to adopt new tactics and will spend the remaining two years of his term by reshuffling the government.    

The first round was held on 15 March, despite the fact that the coronavirus epidemic was already in full swing across the whole country. The second round scheduled for 22 March was postponed and finally held on 28 June.

The Greens' surge in support, winning in major cities such as Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille and Strasbourg, came as a surprise. As a result, the president has decided go more green by placing a stronger emphasis on environmental protection. The underlying reason could be the Green's reluctance to become part of the new cabinet, which was announced the day after the elections, Franceinfo writes. 

Emmanuel Macron is planning a major government overhaul, especially when it comes to key posts. The last ministerial council of the current cabinet will take place on Friday, 3 July, and the new government will be set up by 8 July. Macron will consider some proposals put forward by the presidents of the Senate, the National Assembly and the Economic, Social and Environmental Council on Thursday. 

Emmanuel Macron has already revamped his government twice: first soon after the 2017 French legislative (National Assembly) elections, and then in October 2018, following the resignation of Gerard Collomb, his former interior minister.

Although no details have been disclosed, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe - who became the mayor of Le Havre after securing a 59% majority - is likely to step down, leaving a vacancy to be filled in.

PM Philippe's potential departure poses several challenges to Macron, according to BFMTV. On the one hand, the prime minister's popularity has soared to unprecedented heights, but on the other, Philippe is a decisive figure who holds together the centre-right, Macron's main electoral base. Moreover, should PM Philippe choose to resign, he would probably return as Macron's rival in the 2022 or 2027 presidential race. Commenting on his own victory in the local elections, Edouard Philippe posted a one-word tweet, saying "merci."

The question of who could take over the prime minister's role also appears to hang in the balance, although the names of possible contenders - including current Defence Minister Florence Parly - have started to circulate. If Parly replaced Edouard Philippe, she would become the second female prime minister in France's history, with  Edith Cresson being the first female French premier thirty years ago, under President Francois Mitterand.

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