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Hollande ally named new economy minister in emergency reshuffle

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls (R) leaves the Elysee presidential palace in Paris after a meeting with French President Francois Hollande (L), on August 26, 2014.AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAU

PARIS: French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday named Emmanuel Macron, a former Rothschild banker and close ally, new economy minister in an emergency reshuffle after a major political crisis.

Top ministers, including Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Finance Minister Michel Sapin, remained in their posts but three rebel ministers who had openly criticised the government's economic policy were not part of the line-up.

The surprise nomination of the 36-year-old comes a day after Hollande asked his prime minister to form a new cabinet in a shock announcement sparked by a weekend of sniping by outspoken former economy minister Arnaud Montebourg over austerity policies implemented by Paris.

Macron was Hollande's economic advisor until a few months ago and pushed the Socialist president towards implementing a more liberal financial policy as the country struggles with stagnant growth and record unemployment.

He is very different from his predecessor Montebourg, who is on the left of the Socialist party and advocates cutting taxes and upping government spending.

 

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