French PM Philippe and his government resign ahead of reshuffle
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French PM Philippe and his government resign ahead of reshuffle

Move comes as Macron seeks to open a new chapter of his presidency focused on efforts to relaunch a French economy deeply hit by the coronavirus crisis

French President Emmanuel Macron, right, and French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe arrive for a meeting with members of the Citizens' Convention on Climate to discuss over environment proposals at the Elysee Palace in Paris on June 29, 2020. (Christian Hartmann/Pool via AP)
French President Emmanuel Macron, right, and French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe arrive for a meeting with members of the Citizens' Convention on Climate to discuss over environment proposals at the Elysee Palace in Paris on June 29, 2020. (Christian Hartmann/Pool via AP)

PARIS — French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has resigned as a government reshuffle is expected in the coming days, the French presidency announced Friday.

The French government led by Philippe submitted its resignation Friday ahead of a cabinet reshuffle to be announced “in the coming hours,” the French presidency announced Friday.

The statement didn’t say whether Philippe will be replaced or will stay on as the head of a new government.

President Emmanuel Macron is seeking to open a new chapter for the two remaining years of his term that will focus on efforts to relaunch the French economy deeply hit by the coronavirus crisis.

A woman casts a vote at a voting center during the second round of the municipal elections, in Rennes, western France on June 28, 2020. (AP Photo/David Vincent)

Speculation that Philippe could be on the way out mounted this week after Macron’s centrist party was routed in municipal elections last Sunday and Greens took control of several major cities.

The reshuffle was planned even before the voting, however, as Macron’s government faced obstacles and criticism before Sunday’s election and during the virus crisis.

Philippe, a right-wing politician who never joined Macron’s Republic on the Move party, easily won his bid to become mayor of Le Havre.

In theory, Philippe can name a stand-in for the mayor’s post so he can remain prime minister, though Macron may prefer to burnish his social justice credentials with a more centrist or left-wing pick.

In an interview with regional newspapers publishing late Thursday, Macron said France must prepare for a “very difficult” economic crisis, “so we have to chart a new course.”

“I see this based on an economic, social, environmental and cultural reconstruction,” he said. “Behind this, there will be a new team.”

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