France's Macron names Republican Philippe as PM

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"Upon taking over his official duties from former PM Bernard Cazeneuve, Philippe said that he is principially 'right-wing, and yet the general interest must dictate the engagement of the state, of elected officials and of the citizen".

"The old world is back", said radical left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, adding: "Emmanuel Macron has taken control of the whole political class". Without that, he could find himself a figurehead from the get-go, incapable of putting into action his campaign promises of economic modernization.

The move is in line with Macron's oft-repeated view that the left-right divide in French politics is outdated, but may also be partly aimed at winning centre-right support ahead of June's parliamentary elections. "With this appointment, we'll have a bigger majority".

That the new prime minister was a member of the Republicans, the mainstream right, "is the demonstration that (the Republicans) can not symbolize an opposition worthy of the name", Le Pen said in a statement.

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

As well as the political coup of poaching Philippe from the right, Macron is also siphoning off support from lawmakers on the left.

Former presidential candidate from the Socialist party Benoit Hamon, who was eliminated in the first round, also reportedly wished Philippe luck, despite disagreements, both past and those that would "undoubtedly come". She is now being tipped for European Union affairs minister.

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The appointment is crucial for Mr Macron, who needs to do well in next month's parliamentary elections to push through his planned economic reforms.

Macron, who was an adviser and an economy minister to former Socialist president Francois Hollande, has so far been supported mainly by left-wing politicians.

--- 1:40 p.m. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she has no intention of telling France what.

He said the government he will appoint on Tuesday will start working on the issue. While multiple surveys show business confidence is at its highest level since 2011, they inherit an economy that has lagged behind the euro-area average for the past three years.

Germany, too, has supported greater defense cooperation, but not all European countries are on board - and it is not clear how such a new structure would work alongside US -dominated North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. And France is still officially under emergency rule after a string of terror attacks since 2015. The main role is to preside over the government and carry out the program of the president.

"He is the man who Macron believes can increase the number of defections from the right wing inside the National Assembly", he said.