French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe quit his office on Friday signalling a government reshuffle by President Emmanuel Macron in a bid to increase his green credentials and win back disillusioned voters ahead of a possible re-election bid.
French PM Edouard Philippe, head of President Emmanuel Macron’s government, resigns after poor local election results, as the French president is taking extreme measures in a bid to cling to power for as long as he can.
French PM resigns
The Elysee Palace said in a statement that Philippe would handle government affairs until a new cabinet was named.
Questions over Philippe’s job had swirled since mid-June when Macron declared he wanted to “reivent” his presidency. In French government reshuffles, the prime minister tenders his or her resignation ahead of cabinet appointments but can still be re-named to the position.
PM faces probe into Covid-19 response
A court has launched an inquiry into the French government’s handling of the coronavirus response.
Hours after Mr Philippe’s resignation, it was announced that the Law Court of the Republic, which deals with claims of ministerial misconduct, would open an inquiry into the way his government handled the pandemic.
The investigation focuses on three senior figures, including outgoing Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, following complaints from unions and doctors.
Earlier on Friday, Mr Philippe resigned amid a cabinet reshuffle.
The government has faced criticism over shortages of medical equipment during the pandemic.
Along with the outgoing prime minister, those under investigation include Agnès Buzyn, who stepped down as health minister in February, and her successor Olivier Véran, senior public prosecutor François Molin said.
France has reported 202,673 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 29,875 deaths.