French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has tendered his resignation after heading President Emmanuel Macron’s government for three years.
Although Mr Philippe is considered popular than the president, the ruling La République En Marche (Republic on the Move) had poor local election results at the week-end.
Mr Philippe met the president and they agreed the government would resign.
President Macron promised a “new path” within an interview published on Friday.
A reshuffle has been expected for some time, and it’s also common practice for a French president to replace a prime minister during the five-year term in office known as the “quinquennat”.
The Elysée palace said in a statement that Edouard Philippe had “today handed in the government’s resignation to the president of the republic, who accepted it”, adding he would remain in place until a new government was appointed.
Why Macron is changing his team
Mr Macron came to power three years ago but now faces an financial crisis after the coronavirus pandemic.
In the interview with regional newspapers, he spoke of a “very tough” recovery for France, and dedicated to the immediate priority of saving jobs, as well as economic, social and environmental reconstruction.
- Greens score gains in French local election
- Macron loses majority as defectors form new party
Mr Philippe’s future as prime minister had been in doubt for a number of weeks and he won the mayoral election in Le Havre on Sunday.
A new prime minister will undoubtedly be appointed in the coming hours, and theoretically Mr Philippe might be asked in which to stay place.
However, a removal van and cardboard boxes were seen coming to his Matignon residence on Friday indicating he was preparing to re-locate.
“For three years he’s been by my side… we’ve carried out important, historic reform often in very difficult circumstances. We have a relationship of trust that’s in a way unique in terms of the French Republic,” that he said in his interview published late on Thursday.
Under France’s constitution, the prime minister is appointed by the president to run the federal government an co-ordinate its actions under policies set out by the president.
Speculation mounted in Paris over who would replace Mr Philippe. Among the names circulating in French media were Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly and Jean Castex, a mayor from the Pyrenees given the role of overseeing France’s strategy of ending the coronavirus lockdown.
Mr Macron’s young LREM party has struggled to keep up the initial support it won from voters after his presidential victory in 2017. Dogged by ministerial resignations, it has also seen a number of defections in the National Assembly, losing its outright majority in May.
The party didn’t win any major city in Sunday’s local elections, in which Green candidates and their left-wing allies made significant gains.
An opinion poll for Le Figaro and France Info on Thursday suggested three quarters of French voters were trying to find political vary from the president.
Although many of those surveyed wanted greater focus on social and environmental change, 59% were happy for Mr Philippe in which to stay his job.