Macron cabinet: Women are half of France’s new ministers


French President Emmanuel Macron has unveiled a gender-balanced cabinet in accordance with an earlier pledge, with 11 of 22 posts taken by women.

Sylvie Goulard is defence minister while Olympic fencing champion Laura Flessel is sports minister.

Bruno Le Maire is economy minister, Gérard Collomb is interior minister and François Bayrou is justice minister.

Mr Macron’s decision to pluck figures from across the political spectrum has sent the French right into disarray.

Mr Le Maire is a conservative moderate, Mr Collomb is the Socialist mayor of Lyon and Mr Bayrou is a veteran centrist.

Some 170 elected officials from the right were earlier criticised by hundreds of other lawmakers after they signed a statement backing Mr Macron.

One accused Mr Macron of “blowing up” the political landscape.

Macron’s new sports minister is Laura Flessel, an Olympic fencing champion

France’s new president will hope his team delivers a majority in parliamentary elections next month.

He delivered on his pledge of a cabinet of parity – though only one of the top five posts, that of defence, went to a woman.

Other ministerial appointees include Jean-Yves Le Drian, in charge of defence under President François Hollande, who will become foreign minister. Nicolas Hulot, a well-known environmentalist, becomes ecology minister.

New Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot is a well-known and popular environmental activist

Long-time Macron supporter and campaign manager Richard Ferrand is rewarded with the territorial cohesion portfolio.

Other ministerial appointees include:

  • Agnès Buzyn – health
  • Murielle Pénicaud – labour
  • Mounir Mahjoubi – junior minister for digital affairs
  • Françoise Nyssen – culture
  • Jean-Michel Blanquer – national education
  • Jacques Mézard – agriculture and food
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Marlène Schiappa, whose successful blog Maman Works saw her dubbed the “spokeswoman for working mums”, becomes junior minister for equality between women and men.

As well as the political centre ground, Mr Macron also took in figures from the left.

The announcement was delayed after candidates were background-checked for their tax records and any potential conflicts of interest.

‘A slap’

It comes amid consternation among forces of both the left and right at Mr Macron’s offer to join him in his political project of bridging the divide.

After he named Republican Edouard Philippe as prime minister on Monday, more than 170 elected conservatives agreed to sign up to the project, some claiming they were witnessing the “transformation” of politics.

However, the Republican party rejected Mr Macron’s “outstretched hand” ahead of upcoming election.

It announced it was expelling Mr Philippe, along with new economy minister Bruno Le Maire, and Gérald Darmanin, who took responsibility for public accounts.

In response, Mr Le Maire said he had “chosen to serve” and said he believed “France is worth more than all the [political]parties”.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has been accused of opportunism by some on the right

France’s newly appointed Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on 15 May 2017 – the day he was named as prime ministerImage

Ahead of the June legislative elections, Republican campaign chief François Baroin accused Mr Macron of “putting a bomb under politics rather than remodelling it”.

The initiative has also been criticised on the left, with defeated Socialist presidential candidate Benoît Hamon among the dissenters.

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“Who can think that the left will pull itself together if it is part of a coalition led by a member of the Republican party?” he said.

Separately, Mr Macron met the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, to start talks on an “ambitious European policy”.

The new president had promised to reform the EU while remaining an ardent supporter.
Mr Tusk told the French leader: “Europe needs your energy, your imagination and your courage.”



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