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France: Macron ousts security chief

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron ousted his top security official Monday following protests over police brutality as part of a government shakeup aimed at focusing on France’s post-pandemic economic recovery for the remaining two years of Macron’s term.

In a surprise move, Macron named a provocative lawyer who has defended WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and suspected terrorists as head of the Justice Ministry. A former Green Party lawmaker was appointed to lead the powerful Ministry for Ecological Transition after Macron came under criticism for lagging on promises to cut emissions.

The 42-year-old centrist leader, whose presidency has been buffeted by protests and now the virus crisis, promised that the new government would be one of “purpose and unity.” Macron tweeted that his 2017 campaign promises to modernize France and free up its businesses remain central to his agenda, but he “must adapt to the international upheavals and crises we are experiencing. A new path must be forged.”

First among the priorities that Macron listed is helping the world’s sixth-largest economy recover from the battering delivered by the coronavirus pandemic. His new lineup includes some new faces but also leans heavily on loyalists as Macron seeks to steady the country.

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