A general view shows the hemicycle during the opening session of the National Assembly in Paris, France, June 28, 2022.
A general view shows the hemicycle during the opening session of the National Assembly in Paris, France, June 28, 2022. Reuters / SARAH MEYSSONNIER

President Emmanuel Macron on Monday turned to the health minister who steered France through COVID to sell the government's policies to voters worried about a spike in inflation as he carried out a limited reshuffle.

Key roles such as the prime minister and finance minister remained unchanged in the reshuffle that signalled no policy changes and was criticised by the opposition as being tone-deaf after elections in June in which Macron's centrist alliance lost control of parliament.

"We have so much to do to rebuild trust," the new government spokesman, Olivier Veran, acknowledged.

Having lost the absolute majority in the lower house of parliament, Macron and his government will need to negotiate support from the opposition bill by bill, for each reform.

Opponents were quick to criticise the limited reshuffle.

"The president of the republic ignores the verdict of the ballot boxes and the demand of the French people for different policies," the far-right's Marine Le Pen tweeted.

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After being the government's face of the pandemic, winning a reputation for his calmness and poise, Veran will now be in charge of presenting government policy.

His challenges will start as early as this week with a draft cost-of-living bill set to be adopted by the government and make its way to parliament, and a policy speech by Elisabeth Borne, who kept her role as prime minister.

Borne will not call a confidence vote after the speech, as is usually - but not always - the case when a new government is appointed, BFM TV said.

The left-wing opposition had said it would call a no-confidence vote if she did not, but it would need about all of the far right and conservatives to join them for it to be successful, which seems unlikely at this stage.

Macron has not announced any coalition pact with other parties to build a workable majority in parliament nor poached any major names from the opposition in this latest reshuffle.

"There are obviously few volunteers to climb aboard the Titanic," said Manuel Bompard, a lawmaker from the hard-left La France Insoumise (France Unbowed).

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire was among the senior cabinet members staying in their jobs.

New appointments include Laurence Boone, the OECD's deputy secretary general and chief economist, who will replace Clement Beaune as minister for European affairs, while Beaune becomes the new transport minister.

Damien Abad, the minister for solidarity and for the disabled, who is under investigation on suspicion of attempted rape and was targeted by other accusations of sexual misconduct, also lost his job.

Abad has denied any wrongdoing. He said he was leaving his job "with a lot of regrets" but that it was for the best, so he could defend himself without it harming the government.

Borne said it was a "complex" matter and that it was up to judges to decide on any guilt. But Elle says she added that, as a general rule, politicians must lead by example. "Everyone must realise that the world has changed, and fortunately," she said.

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