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Macron, in Cabinet reshuffle, replaces minister accused of assault: Elysee

PARIS (AFP) – French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday replaced a Cabinet Minister targetted by an assault probe, in a cabinet reshuffle after his ruling alliance lost its majority in Parliamentary elections.

Just one-and-a-half months after the last reshuffle, the foreign, finance and defence ministers remained unchanged but Macron made several key changes to other high-profile positions.

French Red Cross Director Jean-Christophe Combe was named the new Solidarity and Social Cohesion Minister after the accusations against Damien Abad, who denied any wrongdoing, in a scandal that embarrassed the government.

Macron in a surprise move named the Chief Economist of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Laurence Boone as new Europe Minister in place of Clement Beaune, who played a key role in negotiations with the United Kingdom over Brexit.

In another key change, Christophe Bechu, Mayor of the Loire city of Angers and a key ally of former prime minister Edouard Philippe, was named Environment Minister. He replaces Macron loyalist Amelie de Montchalin who lost the battle for her seat in the parliamentary elections and has stepped aside.

While Macron’s ruling alliance won the most seats in the June 19 parliamentary polls, it lost the majority and will need now to build coalitions to push legislation through Parliament.

The outcome was seen as a major setback for the president, who won a second presidential term in May after defeating far-right leader Marine Le Pen.