"The president of the republic has appointed Edouard Philippe as prime minister", Alexis Kohler, the newly appointed Elysee Secretary General, told a very brief news conference on Monday.

The move is seen as a bid to draw in leading figures from the conservative opposition to Macron’s La Republique En Marche (Republic on the Move) group ahead of crucial legislative elections next month.

La Republique En Marche needs to win 290 seats in order to secure a majority. The movement has already revealed a list of 428 candidates, many of whom who have never held elected office before.

The two-round legislative elections are scheduled to take place on June 11 and June 18 and will elect 577 members of the National Assembly, France’s lower and more powerful house of parliament. 

Mayor

Philippe, 46, a parliamentarian and mayor of the northern port city of Le Havre since 2010, began his career at the State Council in 1997. He joined the Socialist Party when he was young before switching to the center-right.

He is close to former presidential candidate Alain Juppe. He accompanied Juppe in the creation of the UMP party (now The Republicans) and served as the party’s director of services until 2004. Philippe was also member of Juppe’s cabinet at the Ministry of Ecology in 2007.

After conservative hopeful Francois Fillon lost the first round of the presidential election in April, the Le Havre mayor urged his supporters to back Macron. 

The newly appointed prime minister will have to reveal his government by Tuesday. The first ministerial cabinet meeting will be held on Wednesday.

Macron, a 39-year-old centrist pro-Europe independent, was officially inaugurated as France’s 25th president on Sunday.

He is meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Monday afternoon during his first trip as president. It is traditional for French leaders to make Berlin their first European stop. 

The visit aims at highlighting the importance of the French relationship with Germany in relaunching the European project.

Macron is the eighth and the youngest president of the Fifth Republic, founded in 1958.

Anadolu Agency