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Macron cabinet: Women are half of France's new minsters

French President Emmanuel Macron has unveiled a gender-balanced cabinet in accordance with an earlier pledge, with 11 of 22 posts taken by women.

Sylvie Goulard is defence minister while Olympic fencing champion Laura Flessel is sports minister.

Bruno Le Maire is economy minister, Gérard Collomb is interior minister and François Bayrou is justice minister.

Mr Macron’s decision to pluck figures from across the political spectrum has sent the French right into disarray.

Mr Le Maire is a conservative moderate, Mr Collomb is the Socialist mayor of Lyon and Mr Bayrou is a veteran centrist.

Some 170 elected officials from the right were earlier criticised by hundreds of other lawmakers after they signed a statement backing Mr Macron.

One accused Mr Macron of “blowing up” the political landscape.

France’s new president will hope his team delivers a majority in parliamentary elections next month and furthers his aim of political renewal.

He delivered on his pledge of a cabinet of parity – though only one of the top five posts, that of defence, went to a woman.

Other ministerial appointees include Jean-Yves Le Drian, in charge of defence under President François Hollande, who will become foreign minister. Nicolas Hulot, a well-known environmentalist, becomes ecology minister.

Longtime Macron supporter and campaign manager Richard Ferrand is rewarded with the territorial cohesion portfolio.

Other ministerial appointees include:

  • Agnès Buzyn – health
  • Murielle Pénicaud – labour
  • Mounir Mahjoubi – junior minister for digital affairs
  • Françoise Nyssen – culture
  • Jean-Michel Blanquer – national education
  • Jacques Mézard – agriculture and food

Marlène Schiappa, whose successful blog Maman Works saw her dubbed the “spokeswoman for working mums”, becomes junior minister for equality between women and men.

As well as the political centre ground, Mr Macron also took in figures from the far left.

The announcement was delayed after candidates were background-checked for their tax records and any potential conflicts of interest.

‘A slap’

It comes amid consternation among forces of both the left and right at Mr Macron’s offer of “an outstretched hand” to join him in his proclaimed political project of bridging the divide long entrenched in French politics.

After he named Republican Edouard Philippe as prime minister on Monday, more than 170 elected conservatives agreed to sign up to his project, some claiming they were witnessing the “transformation” of politics.

But their move was met by a counter-statement signed by more than 570 conservatives.

Ahead of legislative elections in June, Republican party campaign chief François Baroin accused Mr Macron of “putting a bomb under politics rather than remodelling it”.

Meanwhile the Republicans’ deputy secretary general, Eric Ciotti, was quoted as calling the pro-Macron initiative “a slap” rather than an outstretched hand – suggesting supporting Republicans were opportunistically seeking a role in the new government.

The initiative has also been criticised on the left, with defeated Socialist presidential candidate Benoît Hamon among the dissenters.

“Who can think that the left will pull itself together if it is part of a coalition led by a member of the Republican party?” he said.

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BBC News – World

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