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Emmanuel Macron appoints gender-balanced, centrist government

Thursday, 18 May, 2017 - 14:30

The newly elected president of France, Emmanuel Macron, has named his first government, keeping his promise to draw on figures from both the left and right and striking an even balance between men and women. The streamlined cabinet of 22 ministries and secretaries of state brings together members of civil society alongside politicians from the Socialist party, the right-wing Republicans and the centrist Democratic Movement. On Monday Macron appointed Edouard Philippe as his Prime Minister. Philippe was instrumental in setting up the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), the predecessor of the current Republicans party and is a former Mayor of Le Havre. Other ministers poached from the Republicans include the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire and the Budget Minister Gérald Darmanin.

Another significant appointment comes in the form of Francois Bayrou, the perennial third party candidate of French presidential elections and founder of the Democratic Movement (MoDem) party. Following three failed presidential runs, Bayrou threw his support behind Macron’s bid this time around and was rewarded with the position of Justice Minister. The ministers of defence (Sylvie Goulard) and European affairs (Marielle de Sarnez) are also members of MoDem.

In what is Macron’s most leftward leaning appointment, Jacques Mézard of the Left Party was named as the agriculture minister. Notable additions to the government who come from a non-political background include the popular journalist and documentary producer, Nicolas Hulot, who will be heading up the environment ministry and five-time Olympic fencing medal winner Laura Flessel as Sports Minister.  

By drawing on such a broad sweep of the political spectrum to form a government, Macron will be hoping to boost his party’s chances in June’s parliamentary elections. So far, his newly formed Republic on the Move party has selected 428 candidates but is ultimately expected to contest all 577 seats in the National Assembly elections. The party will need to win a majority of seats in order to push through the government’s reform agenda. A poll released on Thursday showed the party to be on course to win 32 percent of the vote share, up three points in a week, and significantly ahead of the Republicans and the National Front, both of which are polling at 19 percent.


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