Emmanuel Macron, the newly inaugurated President of France, has chosen center-right politician Édouard Philippe to be the new Prime Minister.
The 46-year-old Philippe held multiple political roles before he was appointed, including Mayor of Le Havre since 2010. He has also represented Seine-Maritime’s 7th constituency in the National Assembly since March 2012. Philippe is currently a member of The Republicans, one of the two major parties in France.
You can follow Philippe on Twitter.
Here’s what you need to know about Philippe.
1. Philippe Is the First Prime Minister Not Belonging to the President’s Party Since 2002
Philippe is the first French Prime Minister not to come from the same political party as the president since Jacques Chirac‘s first Prime Minister Lionel Jospin served from 1997 to 2002. (At the time, Chirac was part of the now-defunct Rally For The Republic party, while Jospin was part of the Socialist Party.)
The reason why Macron had to chose a member of another party as his Prime Minister is because Macron created his own political party, En Marche!, when he ran for president.
The New York Times reported that Philippe wasn’t a major figure in French national politics and not well-known until his name began surfacing as a potential prime minister.
The move could also help more moderates join En Marche! ahead of the National Assembly elections in June. Every seat is up for grabs and Macron is hoping that members of the Republicans and Socialist Parties will join him.
2. Philippe Worked for the American Law Firm Debevoise & Plimpton
Philippe once worked as a lawyer for Debevoise & Plimpton, the international law firm based in the U.S. The firm has offices in New York, Washington D.C, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Moscow, Tokyo, Shanghai and Hong Kong. He worked for the firm from 2004 to 2007.
According to Challenges.fr, Philippe started his political life as a supporter of Alain Juppe, who served as prime minister under Chirac from 1995 to 1997. He worked with Juppe in the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party until 2004, when he left politics to join Debevoise.
In 2007, Philippe returned to politics, rising to mayor of the port city of Le Havre.
Philippe also worked as the head of public affairs at Areva, the French nuclear power company, from 2007 to 2010.
3. He Supported Alain Juppe & Francois Fillon During the Presidential Campaign
Juppe ran for the Republicans presidential nomination in 2016, but lost to another former P.M., Francois Fillion. As the Associated Press notes, Philippe served as Juppe’s campaign spokesman until Fillon earned the nomination.
Philippe then supported Fillon’s campaign, but he left when the campaign was derailed by mounting controversies. Prosecutors investigated allegations that Fillon’s family members wee placed in comfortable positions paid for by taxpayers.
The Local.fr reports that Philippe also used to be a member of the Socialist Party. He was influenced by Michel Rocard, the prime minister under Socialist Francois Mitterand from 1988 to 1991. When Rocard was voted out of the leadership role in the Socialist Party, Philippe’s political views gravitated towards the right.
“I was brought up in a left wing environment, and he had a social democratic side which suited me,” Philippe once told Le Point.
4. His Wife Edith Is a Teacher & He Has 3 Children
While much is known about Macron’s wife Brigitte Macron, there is not much information about Philippe’s family.
According to his bio for the 14th World Conference Cities and Ports, where he was a speaker, Philippe is married to Edith Chabre. The couple have been married for 15 years and have three children. Edith is a teacher at Sciences Po, the same university where Philippe graduated from.
Philippe’s father is from Le Havre and his mother is from Lille. He was born in Rouen, and later traveled to Germany to study in Bonn during his high school years.
5. He’s Written 2 Political Fiction Novels
Philippe and Macron have more in common than just being young political figures new to the French national stage. They not only worked for private companies, but are also published authors.
Philippe has co-written two books of political fiction with Gilles Boyer. The two wrote Dans l’Ombre (In The Shadows), which was published in 2011. In 2007, they wrote L’Heure de Verite (The Hour of Truth).
Challenges.fr notes that Philippe and Macron also both have an interest in a better relationship between France and Germany. Philippe speaks German, having studied in Bonn.
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