PARIS — The French president's office has appointed a director of the state-owned SNCF railway operator as the minister of armed forces, replacing Sylvie Goulard, who unexpectedly resigned June 20.

The appointment of Florence Parly on June 21 was part of a major Cabinet reshuffle following the resignation of four senior ministers, including Goulard, within a couple of days.

Previously, President Emmanuel Macron had been expected to officially name the new government without significant changes after legislative elections closed Sunday and returned a comfortable majority for his party, Republic on the Move. 

Some of the departures from that mini wave of ministerial resignations were sparked by an inquiry into alleged misuse of salaries paid to fictitious assistants of the centrist Modem party in the European Parliament,

Apart from SNCF, Parly has worked at the national flag carrier Air France and served as a junior budget minister from 2000-2012 for the Socialist government, led by then-President Lionel Jospin.

News of Goulard's resignation on Tuesday sparked great surprise at the Paris Air Show, as many French executives were waiting for her scheduled ministerial visit, only to hear that she had resigned that very morning. Goulard had accompanied Macron on his official visit of the air show on Monday.

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Goulard's staunch support of a strong Europe and close ties to Germany had been seen as welcome factors in Macron's bid to boost links to Berlin.

Parly's appointment maintains Macron's avowed aim to appoint more women to the Cabinet.

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