France: Macron presents his new cabinet

Status: 05/20/2022 6:35 p.m.

With his new cabinet, French President Macron is betting heavily on continuity. In view of the narrow electoral victory of a few weeks ago and the upcoming legislative elections, observers were expecting major changes.

French President Emmanuel Macron begins his second term with a slimmer government than before, with several key portfolios remaining in trusted hands. Bruno Le Maire will remain Minister of Economy and Finance, while Gérald Darmanin will continue to lead the Ministry of the Interior and Éric Dupond-Moretti that of Justice, indicated the Elysée. The new French foreign minister will be Catherine Colonna, former French ambassador to London and former minister for Europe under President Jacques Chirac.

Sébastien Lecornu, previously overseas minister, will be the new defense minister. Macron had already appointed Labor Minister Elisabeth Borne as the new Prime Minister on Tuesday. This is the second time in 30 years that France has had a female head of government. Eight of the 17 ministries will be headed by a woman.

The new designations of some departments also reflect content priorities. In the future, for example, there will be a Ministry of Labour, Full Employment and Integration, there will be a Ministry of Energy Transition and a Ministry of Solidarity, Independent Employment and People with Disabilities .

Legislative election in June

Observers actually expected major changes, as Macron announced a new way of governing after his relatively short victory in the presidential election. The new cabinet is subject to Macron and his allies retaining a majority in parliament. Otherwise, he would have to appoint a new head of government from among the winners, who would in turn bring with him his own team of ministers. The first round of legislative elections will take place on June 12, the second a week later.

Polls indicate a narrow majority for Macron’s camp. In addition, it recently caught a tailwind thanks to the latest unemployment figures, which document the lowest level in 14 years. However, left-wing parties in France have agreed on an alliance for the first time in 20 years.

Macron announced relatively pro-European and business-friendly reforms. In particular, he wants to raise the retirement age from 62 to 65. On the other hand, the left-wing parties have agreed to lower it to 60, raise the minimum wage and cap the prices of basic necessities.

Continuity instead of new beginnings – the new French government is in place

Sabine Wachs, ARD Paris, May 20, 2022, 6:45 p.m.

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