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Ex-banker named French economy minister in 'last chance' reshuffle

Published on Aug 27, 2014 4:26 AM

PARIS (AFP) - Francois Hollande on Tuesday installed a former banker and ally as economy minister in an emergency reshuffle seen as the "last chance" to haul France out of the biggest crisis of his presidency.

In a clear break with the left flank of his ruling Socialists, Mr Hollande caught everyone off guard with the appointment of Mr Emmanuel Macron, a 36-year-old ex-Rothschild banker and architect of the president's economic policy.

The top members of the government remained unchanged, but three rebel ministers who had publicly attacked Mr Hollande's economic policy were not in the line-up as the president sought to quell dissenting voices in his team and cement the country's move towards a more pro-business outlook.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls defended the choice of Macron and his Rothschild past, likely to be the target of sniping from the left. "So what?" he retorted when asked on French television about Macron's banking background. "Can one not be an entrepreneur in this country? One can't be a banker?"

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