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Emmanuel Macron prepares to introduce new French government

French President Emmanuel Macron is preparing to introduce a new government with a fresh face - lean, half-female and tasked with carrying out his plans to rethink labour laws and overhaul politics.

The government will be formally presented on Wednesday. Mr Macron's office has delayed the announcement, initially expected on Tuesday, while authorities check the tax records and backgrounds of potential ministers, in an effort to prevent any potential conflict of interest.

Mr Macron, who won the May 7 run-off on promises of cleaning up the corruption and stagnation marking traditional parties, said he will require ministers to sign a commitment to "integrity and morality".

In his second full day in office, he also hosted a delegation from the International Olympic Committee in the Elysee Palace, a symbolically important gesture of support for the French capital's bid in its race against Los Angeles for the 2024 Games.

Mr Macron's main task, however, is choosing ministers who will form his new government after he named low-profile, centre-right Edouard Philippe as prime minister on Monday.

It is a delicate balancing act, as centrist Mr Macron tries to redesign French politics by borrowing ministers from left and right, and combining new faces with experienced heavyweights who can help him make his mark on European and world affairs.

The new government is expected to be half women, and with about half the number of ministers former president Francois Hollande's cabinet had.

Names circulating as potential ministers include TV personality and environmental activist Nicolas Hulot; Axelle Tessandier, who created a start-up in San Francisco before joining Mr Macron's campaign; centre-right European legislator Sylvie Goulard; and prominent centrist party leader Francois Bayrou.

Outgoing defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, a Socialist, may keep his post to ensure continuity in French military operations against Islamic extremists in Syria, Iraq and Africa.

On his first foreign trip after barely 24 hours in office, Mr Macron met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Monday and pushed for more co-ordination among countries that use the euro.

On Tuesday, he pushed the Paris Olympic bid with a visiting IOC delegation. Mr Macron said he would go to Lausanne, Switzerland, for a key IOC meeting in July and he may go to Lima, Peru, in September, where the committee makes its final decision.

"This discussion left no doubt about the fact that the Paris bid is enjoying extremely strong support from all public authorities," Patrick Baumann, head of the IOC evaluation commission, told reporters after the meeting.

Winning the games would be a big boost for France after years of fading global influence - and a boost for Mr Macron as the untested 39-year-old president embarks on his term and a risky effort to reinvigorate the French economy.

AP

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