France’s justice minister and European affairs minister handed in their resignations on Wednesday, the AFP news agency reported, ahead of the government’s announcement of a cabinet reshuffle.
President Emmanuel Macron’s government, led by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, had resigned in keeping with tradition after Sunday’s parliamentary elections.
But the expected minor “technical reshuffle,” due to be announced later Wednesday, has widened with the latest resignations that come after Defence Minister Sylvie Goulard stepped down Tuesday.
Justice Minister Francois Bayrou told AFP that he didn’t want to be a part of the future government.
Bayrou is the leader of the centrist Democratic Movement (Modem) party, which is allied with Macron’s La Republique en Marche (The Republic on the Move).
Earlier this month, French prosecutors opened a preliminary investigation into allegations that Modem staff had been paid as European Parliament assistants to the party’s lawmakers while actually working for the party.
The investigation was triggered by complaints from a former Modem staffer and a lawmaker for the far-right National Front, as well as press reports.
Modem has said that all its staff were legally employed, and that some of them were in fact working part-time for the party and part-time for its MEPs.
Goulard was an member of the European Parliament for Modem until she stepped down in May to take up the position of defence minister.
Marielle de Sarnez, the European affairs minister, is also from Modem.