Finely balanced French cabinet announced | News | DW | 16.05.2012
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Finely balanced French cabinet announced

New French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault named his first cabinet, a fine balance of women and men across the political spectrum.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has completed his first task and named the new Cabinet. Laurent Fabius, a former prime minister, is to be the new foreign minister. Pierre Moscovici, President Francois Hollande's campaign director and a former minister for European affairs, will become finance minister.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, a friend of Hollande's, will lead the defense ministry. Hollande's campaign communications director Manuel Valls was named interior minister. Hollande also chose close ally Michel Sapin as labour minister and placed Arnaud Montebourg in charge of reindustrialisation.

The appointments were, as promised, a balance of gender parity but the important posts went to men. The 17 women appointed include justice minister Christiane Taubira, culture minister Aurélie Fillippetti, health and social affairs minister Marisol Touraine and ecology minister Nicole Bricq. Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, a 34-year-old Franco-Moroccan councillor in Lyon becomes government spokeswoman and minister for women's rights.

The cabinet has 34 members, two more than the outgoing Sarkozy cabinet. As Hollande announced in March, he has created a new minister for “territorial equality,” who is meant to redress the balance of attention paid to rural areas. Cécile Duflot, leader of “Europe Écologie–The Greens,” becomes the minister responsible for this new office.

Socialist Party chief Martine Aubry said Wednesday that she had "amicably" agreed not to serve on the cabinet of new President François Hollande. Aubry, who will remain party leader, lost to Hollande in the Socialist primary last year.

Hollande's former partner, Segolene Royal is likely to become President of the National Assembly after the June legislative elections.

Overall the cabinet is seen as a politically moderate reflection of all the interests across the party as well as outside alliances and personal friends of Francois Hollande, who combined to bring the new President to the Elysee Palace.

The first meeting of the cabinet will take place on Thursday afternoon.

jm/msh (AFP, Reuters)