May 15 (UPI) -- Newly-inaugurated French President Emmanuel Macron appointed Edouard Philippe as prime minister Monday.
Prior to his appointment, Philippe, 46, was the mayor of the city of Le Havre, a member of the center-right Republican Party and a former Parliament member. He was chosen by Macron, 39, a centrist and a political independent, to demonstrate an ability to unite the left and right wings of French politics, the news website TheLocal.fr reported.
Macron may persuade other conservative members to join his Republicains en Marche movement in June parliamentary elections. Strengthening his appeal among right-wing voters would weaken the Republicans, and a strong showing by the party could force Macron to form a coalition government with them.
Macron's mission to challenge France's political divide is served by Philippe's background. He was a Socialist Party member before joining the right, demonstrating an ability to cross the political gulf and exhibit loyalty to policies instead of party.
Philippe supported Francois Fillon in the presidential election until Fillon was involved in an embezzlement scandal.
Other government officials were expected to be announced on Tuesday.