Macron seeks to regain footing with French cabinet reshuffle

FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron reacts during an official visit at the Paris auto show, in Paris, France, October 3, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/Pool/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron will reshuffle his cabinet this week after the resignation of his interior minister, as allies press for a broad rejig to draw a line under a tumultuous few months.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe could submit his government’s resignation to Macron as early as Monday, French media reported. Macron would then ask Philippe to form a new government, on which parliament, dominated by Macron’s ruling party, would hold a vote of confidence.

Macron has seen his popularity slump as voters grow frustrated with a leader seen increasingly as arrogant and out of touch, and are impatient with the sluggish pace of economic growth and job creation.

“We need to remain true to our initial project, but we need a breath of fresh air,” Richard Ferrand, speaker of the National Assembly and close ally of Macron told the Journal du Dimanche.

The departure of Gerard Collomb against Macron’s wishes exposed chinks in the armor of a president who has sought to lead with a tight grip on decision-making but who lacks political experience, having never previously held elected office.

Macron and Philippe were due to have lunch together on Monday, a weekly event, after being in “close contact” over the weekend, according to a source in the prime minister’s office.

Officials neither confirmed nor denied that a wide reshuffle was on the cards. A presidency source said nothing was finalised and the reshuffle was still being worked on.

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