The members of French President François Hollande's new cabinet were announced on Wednesday, including Pierre Moscovici as finance minister and former premier Laurent Fabius (pictured) as the minister of foreign affairs.
France unveiled President Francois Hollande's new government on Wednesday, with exactly half of the posts going to women – a promise the new head of state had made during his campaign.
Not counting the prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, who was appointed on Tuesday, the cabinet consists of 34 members, two more than the outgoing cabinet that served under conservative Nicolas Sarkozy.
There was some concern over the news that Martine Aubry, Hollande’s former party rival and one of the Socialist Party’s most experienced women, would not join the cabinet after she was declined the prime ministerial position.
There was also some criticism over the top-level posts being given to men, despite the cabinet being France’s first to reach gender parity.
Former prime minister Laurent Fabius, 65, who campaigned against the European Constitutional Treaty in 2005, was handed the role of foreign affairs minister, sparking concern among some Europhiles.
Pierre Rousselin, senior editor at French conservative daily Le Figaro, told FRANCE 24 that while the French might find him a “strange choice and a potential problem for Europe,” he may also turn out to be an advantage by gaining support from the majority of French people who voted “no” in the bitterly divisive 2005 referendum.
There was also some surprise over the appointment of Pierre Moscovici, 54, as finance minister. Moscovici was very close to Dominique Strauss-Kahn before becoming Hollande’s campaign manager. His post was expected to go to Hollande’s long term ally, Michel Sapin, who was instead named as labour minister.
Jean-Yves Le Drian, a 64-year-old local politician from Brittany, was named defence minister, while Manuel Valls, a free-market moderniser and a moderate within the Socialist Party, was named interior minister. Arnaud Montebourg, a 49-year-old from the left wing of the Socialist party, was put in charge of growth and industry.
Women in power
Christiane Taubira, from French Guiana, was named justice minister, making her the highest-ranking woman in the new cabinet. Outspoken and charismatic, the 60-year-old lawmaker authored a French law in 2001 making slavery a crime against humanity. She was the first black woman to run for president in 2002.
Other women who received cabinet posts include Marisol Touraine, minister for health and social affairs; housing minister Cecile Duflot, who is also the leader of the Green party; and several women who helped run Hollande’s presidential campaign, including Aurelie Filipetti, as culture minister, and Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, in charge of women's rights, one of two new cabinet posts. She will also act as government spokesperson.
Anne-Cécile Mailfert, a gender equality activist from women’s rights group Osez le Féminisme (Dare to be feminist), told FRANCE 24 that she felt that there was a “clear divide” between women and men on the cabinet, with women receiving less important roles, save for minister of justice. “This is a little bit disappointing,” she said, though recognising the numerical parity as a “positive example” for society.
The first cabinet session will take place on Thursday at 13.00pm Paris time.
THE FACES OF FRANCE'S NEW GOVERNMENT
Manuel Valls, prime minister
Spanish-born Manuel Valls, France's former interior minister, is seen as a moderate in the Socialist Party. Valls came last in the party's primaries for the presidential race, and then acted as Hollande’s presidential campaign spokesperson.
Ségolène Royal, minister of environment and energy
François Hollande’s former partner and mother of his four children, Ségolène Royal was reportedly blocked from the 2012 cabinet by Hollande’s then girlfriend, Valérie Trierweiler. Royal was the Socialist presidential candidate in the 2007 race against Nicolas Sarkozy.
Laurent Fabius, minister of foreign affairs
Laurent Fabius has been a fixture of French politics for the past 30 years. In 1984, at the age of 37, he became France's youngest-ever prime minister. Eight times elected to parliament, he has also served as finance minister and speaker of France's National Assembly.
Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, minister of women’s rights, youth and sports
Moroccan-born Rhône councillor Najat Vallaud-Belkacem served as a spokesperson for both Ségolène Royal in 2007 and François Hollande in 2012.
Christiane Taubira, minister of justice
A member of parliament for French Guiana, Christiane Taubira was born in the South American territory in 1952. She is best known for the highly divisive law authorising same-sex marriage, which she championed under ex-Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.
Jean-Yves Le Drian, minister of defence
President of the regional council of Brittany, Jean-Yves Le Drian is Hollande's long-standing friend. He served as secretary of state for maritime affairs in 1991-1992. As defence minister in the 2012 cabinet, Le Drian oversaw the military operations in Mali and CAR.
Aurélie Filippetti, minister of culture
A Green Party member before joining the Socialists to support Ségolène Royal in 2006, Aurélie Filippetti has been MP for the northeastern constituency of Moselle since 2007. She is one of several 2012 cabinet members who have retained their posts in 2014.
Michel Sapin, finance minister
Former labour minister in the 2012 cabinet, Michel Sapin is a key economics advisor to Hollande and very close to the president, whom he has known since their youth. He has served as a cabinet minister under three former prime ministers.
Arnaud Montebourg, minister of economy and industry
A lawyer by training, Arnaud Montebourg was industry minister in the 2012 cabinet. In 2014, Montebourg was given the expanded title of economy minister with oversight over industry and the digital economy.
Marisol Touraine, minister of social affairs
A former minister of health, Marisol Touraine is also a member of the committee for social affairs at the National Assembly.
Stéphane Le Foll, agriculture minister and government spokesman
A member of the European parliament (MEP) since 2004, Stéphane Le Foll stays on as agriculture minister and has also been named government spokesman. He is Hollande's oldest friend in the cabinet.
François Rebsamen, labour and employment minister
Another close friend of François Hollande, François Rebsamen, the former Socialist mayor of Dijon, was initially tipped to succeed Manuel Valls as interior minister.
Bernard Cazeneuve, interior minister
The big surprise of the 2014 cabinet was Bernard Cazeneuve’s appointment as interior minister, a post vacated by current Prime Minister Manuel Valls. Cazeneuve was previously budget minister and is close to Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
Date created : 2012-05-16