French President Emmanuel Macron has appointed Edouard Philippe, a relatively unknown 46-year-old lawmaker, as prime minister, making good on campaign promises to repopulate French politics with new faces. Alexis Kohler, Macron's new general secretary at the presidential Elysee Palace, made the announcement Monday. Philippe is the mayor of the Normandy port of Le Havre, a trained lawyer, and an author of political thrillers, reports the AP. He's also a member of the mainstream-right Republicans party that was badly battered by Macron's victory in the presidential campaign. Philippe's appointment ticks several boxes for the 39-year-old Macron, France's youngest president, who took power on Sunday. Philippe's age reinforces the generational shift in France's corridors of power and the image of youthful vigor that Macron is cultivating.
Philippe could also attract other Republicans to Macron's cause as the centrist president works to piece together a majority in parliament to pass his promised economic reforms. Philippe is close to Alain Juppe, a former prime minister who campaigned for the French presidency but was beaten in a primary. Reacting to Philippe's appointment Monday by President Emmanuel Macron, Juppe called the new prime minister "a man of great talent" with "all the qualities to handle the difficult job." Macron is off to a fast start: He'll meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin later Monday on his first foreign trip. Merkel said ahead of the meeting: "Germany will in the long term only do well if Europe does well, and the election of the new French president offers us the opportunity to bring dynamism to European development."