Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

New French president holds first Cabinet meeting

New French president holds first Cabinet meeting

Macron's long term ally Gerard Collomb, the mayor of Lyon, is named interior minister and centrist François Bayrou, who joined forces with Macron at a crucial point in the campaign was named minister for justice.

The pope cited France's "rich diversity of moral traditions and its spiritual heritage marked also by Christian traditions".

Early Macron supporter and his top campaign organiser Richard Ferrand, a Socialist MP, is also expected to be offered a job.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, 69, who led France's military operations overseas as former President Francois Hollande's defence minister, will stay on in Macron's government as foreign minister.

The reform-minded politician and senator, who was one of Macron's first big-name backers, was moved to tears at seeing the 39-year-old take office at the Elysee Palace last Sunday.

Le Drian vowed to promote the country's "key role" in the worldwide community, noting continuity between his previous position and his new diplomatic job.

On the list was Sylvie Goulard, a centrist European Union lawmaker, in charge of defense affairs, Agnes Buzyn, solidarity and health minister and Muriel Penicaud, the minister in charge of managing the thorny employment issue.

High-profile conservative Bruno Le Maire was the pick for the Finance Ministry.

On the campaign trail ahead of his election on May 7, Macron pledged a slimmed-down group of ministers of around 15 people, half of them women and including people from outside politics.

He has promised a gender-balanced cabinet and there are suggestions it could include figures from civil society, economists, judges and entrepreneurs as well as politicians. To that end, Nicolas Hulot, a well-known environmentalist, was named as ecology minister. Jean-Yves Le Drian, 69, the former defense minister, stays on in Macron's new government as foreign minister and Europe minister. He took the position of leading European and foreign affairs.

During the election, Mr Macron said it would be "unacceptable" if women did not have parity in the French government.

At a meeting recorded in a fly-on-the-wall TV documentary about Macron's campaign, 65-year-old Bayrou struck a paternal tone with the 39-year-old, saying: "It's a unusual thing, the presidency".

The announcement initially planned for Tuesday was pushed back a day while authorities dug more deeply into candidates' tax records and financial assets for signs of potential conflicts of interest.

The new government may only serve for a few weeks. But having a cabinet from across the spectrum makes it likely that Mr. Macron will garner support for his programme from both sides of the aisle, in the event that his party fails to secure a majority by itself.

"This is not at all a government coalition but an individual decision".

Republicans secretary general, Bernard Accoyer, said Le Maire and Darmanin had been excluded from the party for accepting Macron's outstretched hand and accused Macron of trying to "sew up the democratic debate" by poaching from his rivals.

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