July 3, 2020 / 12:52 PM / a month ago

Who is France's new prime minister, Jean Castex?

PARIS (Reuters) - President Emmanuel Macron named Jean Castex as his new prime minister on Friday, seeking to refashion his presidency as France emerges from the coronavirus crisis.

FILE PHOTO: French government "deconfinement" coordinator Jean Castex leaves after a videoconference with the French president and French mayors at the Elysee Palace in Paris after the country began a gradual end to the nationwide lockdown following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in France, May 19, 2020. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/Pool/File Photo

Here are some facts about the new low-profile prime minister:

* Castex, 55, coordinated the easing of France’s coronavirus lockdown, earning the nickname ‘Monsieur Deconfinement’.

“He was the man who made deconfinement a success,” an Elysee official told Reuters.

* Castex blends knowledge of the inner workings of government as a top civil servant and local political experience as mayor of Prades in southwestern France. He was re-elected to lead the town in this year’s municipal vote, winning outright in the first round.

That could help Macron reconnect with voters after the yellow-vest protests exposed his unpopularity with disenchanted parts of rural and suburban France.

* Castex served as then president Nicolas Sarkozy’s adviser for social affairs - a job that entailed negotiating with French unions - before going on to become one of the top technocrats in Sarkozy’s administration.

He was also chief of staff for Sarkozy’s health minister, Xavier Bertrand.

* Castex’s chief of staff will be Nicolas Revel, who is close to Macron, an appointment that shows the president will want to keep a tight grip on his new prime minister.

* Castex coordinated France’s strategy for organising the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Giles Elgood

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