French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe has tendered his government’s resignation after seeing the country through the coronavirus pandemic, The Guardian reports.
The Elysée Palace announced that Philippe had submitted the government’s resignation, but would remain as head of an interim government until the president, Emmanuel Macron, carried out a reshuffle and named his successor.
In French government reshuffles, the prime minister tenders their resignation before new cabinet appointments, but can still be renamed to the position. Philippe, an increasingly popular figure, could be reappointed.
The Elysée statement said: “Mr Edouard Philippe has today handed his resignation from the government to the President of the Républic who has accepted it. He will remain, with other members of the Government, to deal with current matters until the nomination of a new government.”
During the Covid-19 crisis it fell to Philippe to deliver details, while Macron painted the bigger picture. During news conferences, Philippe appeared calm, reassuring and serious as he outlined lockdown rules and other unpopular regulations deemed necessary during the health emergency.
His popularity has grown as Macron’s has slipped, with the latest polls suggesting Philippe had the confidence of up to half of French voters, with the president trailing at between 33% and 39%.
Philippe, 49, was appointed in 2017 after Macron’s presidential election victory. At the time he was a member of the centre-right Les Républicains (LR) party. He left LR but never joined the governing centrist La République En Marche.