Macron Ousts French Interior Minister After Police Protests

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during the "Prix Decouvertes" (Discovery award) ceremony as part of the 47th Angouleme International Comics Festival (Festival International de la Bande Dessinee d'Angouleme) on January 30, 2020, in Angouleme, western France. (Photo by Ludovic Marin / AFP) (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty …
LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images

PARIS (AP) – French President Emmanuel Macron ousted his interior minister as part of a government shakeup Monday after protests against police brutality.

The reshuffle is aimed at shifting the government´s focus to post-virus economic recovery in the last two years of Macron´s term.

Former budget minister Gerald Darmanin was named to replace Christophe Castaner, who had come under fire amid widespread French protests against racial injustice and police brutality spurred by the death of George Floyd in the United States.

Castaner announced a ban on police chokeholds in response, but then backed down in the face of counter-demonstrations and pressure by police unions. He also launched an experiment with expanded Taser use.

Macron replaced the ecology minister, a top priority for his presidency, but did not change the finance or health ministers, central to helping France through the virus crisis and recession, or the foreign and defense ministers.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP´s earlier story follows below.

PARIS (AP) – President Emmanuel Macron is promising that a new French government expected to be named later Monday will be one of “purpose and unity.”

The French leader fired off a series of tweets late Sunday as he gears up with a new government team for the last two years of his five-year term.

Macron last week ditched the prime minister, Edouard Philippe, who steered France through its coronavirus lockdown and the first three years of Macron’s presidency.

The new prime minister, Jean Castex, is a career civil servant with no ministerial experience. His low profile suggests that Macron doesn’t want to be overshadowed should he choose to stand again in 2022. The 42-year-old Macron has not yet said if he’ll seek a second term.

Macron tweeted that the platform upon which he stood in 2017, promising to modernize France and free up its businesses, remains central to his politics but “must adapt to the international upheavals and crises we are experiencing: A new path must be forged.”

First among the priorities that Macron listed for the coming months is helping the French economy recover from the battering delivered by the pandemic.

He didn’t give policy specifics.

Reports in the French media said that a reshuffled government of about 20 ministers would be named Monday to work with Castex.

Castex, 55, most recently coordinated the step-by-step approach that France adopted in coming out of its strict two-month coronavirus lockdown.

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