Macron Replaces Health, Education Chiefs as Prime Minister Borne Keeps Job

(Bloomberg) — French President Emmanuel Macron replaced his health and education ministers as part of a cabinet reshuffle aimed at bringing some fresh impetus to his administration after months of unrest.

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Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne will remain in place, while her former chief of staff, Aurelien Rousseau, will take over the Health Ministry from Francois Braun, Macron’s office said Thursday in a statement.

Gabriel Attal, previously budget minister and before that government spokesman, will replace Pap Ndiaye as education minister. The long-expected cabinet shakeup also sees Bruno Le Maire remain at the helm of the Finance Ministry.

The limited scope of the revamp suggests it won’t lead to a significant shift in course for the government. Still, Macron is expected to outline his priorities for the coming months following what he called a 100-day cooling-off period after he signed an unpopular pension overhaul into law in mid-April.

The president was re-elected in 2022 on a reform platform but has since faced mounting challenges, including the loss of his outright majority in the National Assembly and widespread social anger.

The reshuffle comes just weeks after a wave of riots and looting across France that was sparked by the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old by a police officer in Nanterre, just outside Paris. The tensions in mostly deprived and diverse suburbs known as “banlieues” once again exposed deep rifts in French society.

The violence followed months of strikes and protests over Macron’s decision to raise the retirement age by two years to 64. The movement petered out in May when French labor unions acknowledged they had failed to force him to back down.

The president has since recovered part of his popularity in opinion polls, but opposition parties at both ends of the political spectrum have seized on the cumulated crises to attack the government.

The riots in the banlieues have especially fueled support for anti-immigrant far-right leader Marine Le Pen. A poll of 1,000 people by Elabe for BFM TV this month showed her political standing benefited the most from the violent protests.

Legislation prevents Macron from running for a third term in 2027, which has triggered a veiled competition among senior politicians in his camp over who should be the president’s picked successor candidate.

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