Jean Castex, who coordinated easing of France’s coronavirus restrictions, named as new prime minister

Jean Castex, a senior official who spearheaded France’s coronavirus reopening strategy, has been named the country’s new prime minister by President Emmanuel Macron.

His appointment was announced just hours after Edouard Philippe, who served as prime minister for three years, tendered his resignation.

In April, Castex was given the responsibility of coordinating France’s easing of Covid-19 restrictions. He is a career public servant who has served in multiple administrations and a member of the conservative party Les Republicains.

The government reshuffling comes days after the Greens scored victories in local elections across France, upsetting Macron’s own centrist Republic on the Move party.

Also on French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe resigns as Macron vows to move on with ‘new team’

Castex’s reopening plan has been hailed as largely successful. As prime minister, he will face the daunting task of rebooting France’s economy, which has been severely weakened by the coronavirus lockdown.

Macron is expected to make further changes to his government in the coming days, as he attempts to curry favor with voters hit hard by the economic downturn. He faced widespread opposition to his austerity measures before the health crisis began, with the Yellow Vest protest movement holding weekly rallies across France.

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