PARIS -- French President Emmanuel Macron reorganized his Cabinet Monday after losing his parliamentary majority. He called on his new government "stand strong" in the face of Russia's war with Ukraine and to "transform" France's heavily indebted economy.
Macron's center-right alliance and Macron's old friends are represented in the new government, but there is no representation from the far left or far-right parties that are currently the main opposition forces in France’s National Assembly.
Macron called on ministers to stand firm in the face of a war with a profound effect on many things at a Cabinet meeting following the announcement. It was not sufficiently considered in France's public debate.
His government will present a bill to address growing public concerns over the soaring cost-of-living, but Macron's opponents claim that Macron is not in touch with the daily pain of inflation.
Macron warned Monday that progress can't be funded with unsupported or unsustainable debt after France spent large amounts to help the economy weather the pandemic shutdowns.
He stated that the government would be focusing on environmental issues and "great demographic changes" and will work with local officials and citizens to "transform profoundly collective action."
Macron's controversial plan to increase the retirement age to 65 or 64 is one of his most controversial. His government claims it is necessary to prevent the country's bankruptcy in a country that has one of the highest life expectancies. Macron's main political rivals see the plan as threatening France’s social model.
Six weeks ago, Macron named Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne as the leader of a new coalition government. Macron, like previous French presidents, had established a rule prior to the parliamentary vote: Ministers who retain their seats in government will be kept in those posts.
Three of Macron's fifteen ministers were reelected but they were replaced Monday.
Christophe Bechu, the new environment minister is a crucial job for the EU as it pushes for greater emissions cuts. However, activists quickly criticized his credentials. Francois Braun, now the head of the health ministry is a prominent post due to an increase in COVID-19-related cases.
Jean-Christophe Combe has replaced Damien Abad as minister of policies for disabled, who is currently being investigated for rape, and sexual misconduct.
Abad was accused of sexual misconduct just days after Borne, the second woman in French history, had announced her new government. Abad strongly denies all allegations.
These allegations were especially embarrassing for the president and the prime minister, both of whom claim to be advocates for women's rights and have promised "zero tolerance" for any sexual misconduct.
Two other ministers were also accused of rape but retained their jobs.
Macron's Together! Macron's Together!
His government has the most seats in the National Assembly. However, it can still rule if they bargain with legislators. Macron's Renaissance party, along with its allies, may attempt to negotiate individually with legislators from the center-left or the conservative party in order to prevent the deadlock.
Barbara Surk reported from Nice.