France new government announced; women half of new ministers

The secretary-general of French President’s office Alexis Kohler Wednesday announced the formation of the new government, headed by the conservative lawmaker Edouard Philippe who was appointed as Prime Minister on Monday by Emmanuel Macron.

In his first cabinet line-up, the new head of state mixed profiles unknown for public with others coming from the political mainstream to end decades of right-left divide.

The Socialist veteran, Gerard Collomb, mayor of Lyon was named as interior minister while centrist politician Francois Bayrou was appointed to take the charge of justice portfolio. The two men have been supporters of Macron during election’s campaign.

From the outgoing Socialist government, Jean-Yves le Drian, ex-defense minister and a close ally to former president Francois Hollande was the sole survivor. He took his place to lead European and foreign affairs.

From the right-wing, Bruno Le Maire, a pro-European, was picked as economy minister. Nicolas Hulot, a veteran ecologist activist, was named as ecology minister.

The list name, which included 18 ministers and four junior ministers, contained several female faces, a move with which the country’s new top official wants to deliver on gender parity promise he had campaigned for.

In the list appeared Sylvie Goulard, a centrist EU lawmaker, in charge of defense affairs, Agnes Buzyn, solidarity and health minister and Muriel Penicaud, a minister in charge of employment issue.

UPSET IN THE RIGHT, LEFT

Seeking for wide support ahead of legislative election next month, Macron attracted to his cabinet many faces from the country’s traditional parties which had alternated power over six decades.

His move to broaden his political base had fueled critics in the right and left camps.

“The main objective of this provisional government of confusion is to blur the French’s guide lines during the campaign of the parliamentary elections,” said Bernard Accoyer secretary-general of the center-right “The Republicans” party.

“By choosing to compose a disparate ministerial team, Emmanuel Macron continues to maintain ambiguity in the democratic debate,” he added in a statement.

Accoyer announced that the conservatives who joined the government were struck off the party.

On his tweeter account, Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, chief of the Socialist Party, wrote “a new government but not a government of renewal…”

Far-leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon, who eyes to build a strong opposition in the legislative election, denounced “a right-wing government” and called nomination of environmentalist Nicolas Hulot to manage ecology ministry a “heart breaker”.

However, some others see the other face of the coin.

“This new government is marked by new personalities who are part of a European dynamism and some of whom are familiar with the world of business,” said Pierre Gattaz, head of employers’ federation Medef.

Gattaz expressed readiness to work with the newly-appointed government “to implement reforms that we are in need.”

Wednesday’s cabinet could be changed depending on parliamentary election’s results next month that would decide whether Macron would need to bring a coalition partners to implement his reforms.

The new cabinet is scheduled to hold its first meeting on Thursday morning.

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