July 3, 2020 / 1:15 PM / a month ago

Factbox: 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.

Newly appointed French Prime Minister Jean Castex reacts during the official handover ceremony with Edouard Philippe, outgoing French Prime Minister, (not seen) at Hotel Matignon, the French prime minister's official residence, in Paris, France, July 3, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

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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