By Claire GALLEN (AFP)
1 hour back in World
The brand-new French prime minister Jean Castex is a low-profile civil servant and regional politician from the right, who recently got prominence for preparing policy to reduce the coronavirus lockdown.
For fans, Castex is an extremely remarkable bureaucrat who will rapidly master the brief of prime minister and handling relations with President Emmanuel Macron, who sits atop a presidential system where the premier is very much second.
But detractors have actually already rubbished the consultation, asking why Macron has troubled to change Edouard Philippe, likewise a right-winger who has served for three years, with more of the same.
Castex, 55, mayor of Prades, a small town in the southern Pyrenees mountains, is no complete stranger to the corridors of power since his time as a consultant to ex-French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
” A senior civil servant who knows the health world perfectly well and who is remarkably effective,” stated the now previous premier Philippe when Castex was nominated to design the easing of the coronavirus lockdown.
France’s steady easing of the lockdown has been related to mostly as a success, with life returning to normal across the country however with no sign of the feared “2nd wave” yet.
– ‘Links all over’ –
Castex was two times chief of staff for Xavier Bertrand, who was health minister and then labour minister under the presidencies of Jacques Chicac and Sarkozy.
At the time Castex had to handle a number of delicate cases, such as a pension reform and a law which forced strikers in the transportation sector to provide a minimum service.
” His warmth and beauty are extraordinary and he is naturally simple and empathic,” stated a coworker who worked with Castex when he was head of the health cabinet, who asked not to be called.
” I have actually never seen anybody with such consentaneous support all the time,” said the very same source.
Castex’s politics are resolutely right-wing and has stated in the past that his is “completely comfortable with that truth.”
Father of 4 children, Castex was up until January the planner in between ministries in preparation for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and head of the National Sports Agency.
” He’s a jack of all trades, he has connections everywhere and he understands what to do at the right time and in the right place,” stated ex-advisor to Sarkozy Franck Louvrier.
Xavier Bertrand, now head of France’s northern Hauts-de-France region, tweeted that “I know and I appreciate the qualities” of Castex as “a servant of the state.”
” They will be essential in the challenging times that we are going to deal with,” he stated.
But left-wing MEP Manon Aubry was dismissive. “Whatever changes so that absolutely nothing modifications! A male of the right changes a male of the right to pursue the exact same anti-social and anti-ecological policies,” she stated on Twitter.