France: In search of fresh breath, Macron unveils the face of the new government

Looking for new life after the setback in June’s general elections, Emmanuel Macron on Monday unveiled the makeup of France’s new government, which will face the difficult task of implementing its reforms without an absolute majority in the National Assembly.

Eagerly awaited, the new team of the bourgeois-liberal president was presented to parliament two days before the general speech by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, against which the left-wing Nupes coalition did not rule out a motion of no confidence.

“We now have a government of action and legitimacy to compromise and strengthen and expand the President’s majority, law text by law,” we believe the head of state’s entourage.

The new distribution, which gives more space to the president’s allies without integrating large catches on the right or left as before, was received coolly by the opposition, which denounced a “non-event” and the failure of Emmanuel Macron to “will the French for a different policy”.

After several weeks of hesitation at the head of state about him, Minister Damien Abad (Solidarity, Autonomy and People with Disabilities), the target of an investigation into attempted rape, is ousted. He denounced “heinous slanders” on Monday.

Damien Abad

“It was found that he was unable to defend himself and defend the ministerial portfolio to which he was entitled,” said an adviser to the executive branch.

Chrysoula Zacharopoulou (Development), the target of two allegations of rape in connection with her job as a gynecologist, remains the subject of her post.

As expected, the change in appointment meant the departure of the three ministers and state secretaries Amélie de Montchalin (ecological transition), Brigitte Bourguignon (health) and Justine Benin (sea) who were defeated in the parliamentary elections at the end of June.

The latter will be replaced in her post by Hervé Berville, a Rwandan MP from the Presidential Party.

“Lighting up Europe”

The portfolio of Yaël Braun-Pivet (Overseas), who was elected President of the National Assembly last week – the first woman to hold this key position in France – has been entrusted to former Prefect Jean-François Carenco.

Surprisingly, Minister Delegate for Europe Clément Beaune is leaving the Quai d’Orsay to take up the post of Transport Minister within the new government. He is replaced by economist Laurence Boone, who assured the transfer of power that she wanted to “help make Europe shine”.

The very strategic position of government spokesman goes to Olivier Véran, former Health Minister and outgoing Minister for Relations with Parliament.

Overall, Elisabeth Borne’s Government II, which in its provisional form (between the presidential and parliamentary elections) had 17 ministers, six deputy ministers and four state secretaries, now has 41 members, including 20 women.

purchasing power

This reshuffle comes in a delicate context for Emmanuel Macron, who was re-elected on April 24 against the extreme right for a second five-year term but lost an absolute majority in the National Assembly.

The head of state, who generally pushed through his reforms without difficulty during his first five-year term, this time has to forge case-by-case alliances to try to get his flagship texts through.

The first text to be examined by the assembly will be the health law from July 11, followed by the purchasing power law on July 18, the main concern of the French.

On June 25, the president had hinted to AFP that the presidential project, like that of the presidential majority, could be “changed or enriched,” provided the changes do not lead to an increase in taxes or debt.

The keynote speech by Elisabeth Borne on Wednesday is intended to provide information on the course that the executive wants to take in the coming months.

Claimed by the opposition but risky without an absolute majority, the issue of a vote of confidence on Ms Borne’s statement should be decided during the Council of Ministers, which is due to convene at 14:00 GMT on Monday.

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