French President Emmanuel Macron appointed little-known railway executive Florence Parly as his defence minister on Wednesday as he reshuffled his cabinet just five weeks into office.
The overhaul, which also saw constitutional lawyer Nicole Belloubet appointed justice minister, came after three ministers from the centrist Democratic Movement (or MoDem) party that helped bring Macron to power quit over a funding scandal.
The changes came just hours after MoDem leader and former justice minister Francois Bayrou, who lent crucial support to Macron during the presidential campaign, said he was stepping down to fight allegations that his small party misused European Parliament funds.
The claims, which first emerged in the Canard Enchaine investigative newspaper and are now the subject of a preliminary investigation, quickly became toxic given Macron's vow to rid French politics of sleaze.
More embarrassing for Macron is that Bayrou was in the process of promoting a law to clean up politics, a key policy promise of the recently elected president.
Overall picture of new Macron cabinet: more women in key jobs, arrivals of a few Macron junior campaign aides. More En Marche, less others.
— Pierre Briançon (@pierrebri) June 21, 2017
MoDem misused cash
The two other MoDem cabinet members appointed barely a month ago - defence minister Sylvie Goulard and European affairs minister Marielle de Sarnez - also quit over the accusations that MoDem misused cash to pay assistants who are actually based in France.
De Sarnez has been replaced by Nathalie Loiseau, director of the prestigious ENA school of government where many of France's political elite have studied, including Macron.
— Anne-S Chassany (@ChassNews) June 21, 2017
Veteran Socialists Jean-Yves Le Drian and Gerard Collomb remain in post as foreign and interior minister respectively, as does conservative Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.