France’s Macron appoints new government for second term

Catherine Colonna, a career diplomat and recent ambassador to the UK, takes over France’s foreign affairs portfolio.

Catherine Colonna leaves the Elysee Palace
France's ambassador to Italy Catherine Colonna leaves the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, August 29, 2017 [Philippe Wojazer/Reuters]

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a new-look Cabinet, with a new foreign minister part of the reshuffled lineup behind France’s first female prime minister in 30 years.

Three senior ministers – Gérald Darmanin at the interior ministry, Bruno Le Maire for economics and Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti – all survived the extensive shake-up for re-elected Macron’s second term.

Catherine Colonna, a career diplomat and, most recently, France’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, took over the foreign affairs portfolio as France is deeply engaged in international efforts to support Ukraine against Russia’s invasion.

Led by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, who was named Monday, the Cabinet’s top priority will be trying to secure the parliamentary majority that Macron needs to implement the policy proposals that he campaigned on in last month’s presidential election.

France’s parliamentary election to determine seats in the National Assembly is being held across two rounds of voting in June and parties on both the far-left and the far-right are trying to reduce Macron’s centrist majority.

The Cabinet appointments were announced by Macron’s office in a statement read aloud by an aide on the stairs of the presidential Elysee Palace, in keeping with tradition.

Scholar Pap Ndiaye, an expert on US minority rights movements, was named France’s new education minister. Ndiaye was previously in charge of France’s state-run immigration museum.

In an Associated Press interview last year, Ndiaye said France has to fight racial justice by confronting its often-violent colonial past, noting that “the French are highly reluctant to look at the dark dimensions of their own history.”

Colonna replaced Jean-Yves Le Drian, Macron’s foreign minister throughout his first term. She is the first woman to head the Quai d’Orsay, the plush headquarters of French diplomacy on the banks of the Seine River, since Michèle Alliot-Marie’s short stint as foreign minister ended in February 2011.

The new government also has a new spokesperson, Olivia Grégoire. The former junior minister replaces Gabriel Attal and will be one of the administration’s most visible members.

The core cabinet of Borne and 17 ministers is evenly split between men and women. One of the new additions, Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, is also minister of the Olympic Games and the Paralympics, a new title ahead of the 2024 Summer Games in Paris.

Source: AP