Two French Cabinet Ministers, Government Spokesman Step Down

(Bloomberg) -- French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux and Digital Minister Mounir Mahjoubi are leaving their posts, President Emmanuel Macron’s office announced Wednesday. The Elysee Palace also confirmed the resignation of European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau who has announced she will head the ticket of Macron’s party in European parliamentary elections in May.

The Elysee announced the departures in an emailed statement. without naming replacements. Griveaux and Mahjoubi are expected to mount rival bids for the Paris mayorship, in elections scheduled for 2020.

Two French Cabinet Ministers, Government Spokesman Step Down

The shakeup comes as Macron is aligning his troops for a European vote battle against the anti-EU party of Marine Le Pen. Polls show Macron’s party, LREM, slightly ahead of Le Pen’s Rassemblement National. An Ipsos poll Monday said LREM’s advantage shrank to 1.5 percentage points from 2 percentage points in February, as it gathered 23.5 percent of voting intentions.

The May vote will be the first popularity test for Macron since large-scale protests plunged the country into political turmoil. After beating far-right candidate Le Pen in 2017, Macron’s reform spree was derailed by the so-called Yellow Vests protests that disrupted the euro area’s second-largest economy. Forced to shelve a tax increase and fork out 10 billion euros ($11.3 billion) to boost purchasing power, Macron needs to convince investors he can quell discontent.

Two French Cabinet Ministers, Government Spokesman Step Down

Loiseau, a technocrat with two decades of experience as a diplomat, joined Macron’s government in June 2017. This month, she faced Le Pen in a debate for the first time.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.