French President Emmanuel Macron has named François de Rugy as his new environment minister, the Élysée Palace said in a statement on Tuesday, after his former ecology chief resigned unexpectedly late last month.
De Rugy, speaker of the National Assembly and a former green lawmaker now in the ruling LREM (La République en marche) party, is known as a pragmatist who backed Macron’s decision last year to delay the phased reduction of France’s nuclear energy. The environment minister post traditionally includes the energy portfolio.
With the new appointment, Macron hopes to stem a tide of troubles plaguing his presidency and re-energise his reform drive.
Macron was forced into a cabinet reshuffle with the surprise exit of his former ecology minister, Nicolas Hulot, who said he despaired at what he felt were hollow commitments on environmental policy.
Just hours before the expected announcement of a new environment minister, Sports Minister Laura Flessel said she was resigning from the government for personal reasons.
“I will continue to be a faithful team mate of the president and prime minister, whose determination I admire and whose values and patriotism I share,” said Flessel, a former Olympic fencing champion and one of Macron’s most popular ministers.