French President Emmanuel Macron (R) and French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe
French President Emmanuel Macron. Image Credit: AFP

Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron has replaced the ministers of the interior and environment in a revamped government under new Prime Minister Jean Castex, the presidency said on Monday.

Gerald Darmanin, 37, until now budget minister, replaces Christophe Castaner as interior minister, a troubled portfolio owing to alleged racism and violence among police forces.

Barbara Pompili, 45, a former member of France's green party, is the new environment minister in place of Elisabeth Borne, who will now take over as labour minister.

But Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Defence Minister Florence Parly and Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire are all staying in their posts, presidential aide Alexis Kohler told reporters at the Elysee Palace.

Macron named Castex as prime minister on Friday in place of Edouard Philippe after the governing party performed poorly in regional elections.

The nominations are made on the basis of proposals by the prime minister, Kohler said.

The promotion of Darmanin comes despite allegations from a woman that he raped her in 2009 after she sought his help in having a criminal record expunged.

Darmanin has denied the claims and the charges were dismissed in 2018. But earlier this year appeals judges in Paris ordered the reopening of the investigation into the allegations.

Pompili meanwhile faces the task of convincing voters Macron is serious on the environment after the Europe Ecology - The Greens (EELV), her former party, emerged as the main winners in the local elections last month.

In the biggest surprise of the reshuffle, star French criminal lawyer Eric Dupond-Moretti, famous for his record in winning acquittals for his clients, was named minister of justice.

Olivier Veran, who shepherded France through the worst of the coronavirus crisis, has kept his job as minister of health.