France’s Emmanuel Macron pushed back a planned reshuffle of his government on Wednesday, with an Elysee official saying it would not happen before the president returns from a scheduled three-day trip to Armenia.
Macron and his prime minister have been weighing the reshuffle following the departure of three ministers in five weeks, resignations that have challenged Macron’s authority and stalled his efforts to reform the nation.
“The president wishes to take all the time necessary to draw up a team, in a calm and professional way,” the Elysee official said, adding that Macron’s aim was to build a “skilled and coherent team” to serve the French people.
Ministers had said the rejig was expected before Wednesday morning’s cabinet meeting. Macron leaves for Armenia later on Wednesday and is due to return on Friday evening.
His popularity has plummeted as voters express frustration with a centrist leader often seen as arrogant and supportive of policies that benefit the wealthy. Impatience has also grown with the sluggish pace of economic growth and job creation.
Opponents have accused the 40-year-old former investment banker of dithering over the ministerial appointments, while allies have downplayed any sense of crisis inside the administration, saying there will be no shift in policy.
“There is in this majority, in this government, no anxiety, no restlessness,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told lawmakers during a weekly question and answer session on Tuesday.
“There is a will to stand firm on the commitments made by the president.