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French parliament picks first-ever female speaker

June 29, 2022

Yael Braun-Pivet is a former lawyer who has served in parliament since 2017. She used her first speech in the new role to defend abortion rights.

Yael Braun-Pivet in the National Assembly, France's lower house of parliament
Yael Braun-Pivet became the French parliament's first.ever woman speaker following a vote on TuesdayImage: Michel Euler/AP Photo/picture alliance

France's parliament has picked Yael Braun-Pivet to be its new speaker, making her the first woman to ever hold the post.

Braun-Pivet used her inaugural speech in the new role to address reproductive rights.

"The brutal decision handed down last Friday by the US Supreme Court, that reversed its commitment, that shocked us so much, is a stark reminder to be vigilant," Braun-Pivet told the National Assembly, France's lower house, on Tuesday

"Nothing should be taken for granted. History is made of great progress but is always under threat of being reversed," she added.

"This right was fought for and was inalienable. It is my conviction as a woman today is that we need to be the watchdog so that it stays in place forever."

Who is Yael Braun-Pivet?

Braun-Pivet is a former criminal lawyer who also lived in Taiwan and Japan for several years. More recently, she ran a soup kitchen and provided free legal aid.

She is the granddaughter of Eastern European Jews who moved to France in the 1930s to escape persecution, France 24 reported.

In the political world, she is a relative newcomer and was previously a member of the Socialist Party.

Yael Braun-Pivet addressing National Assembly on Tuesday
Yael Braun-Pivet addressing National Assembly, France's lower house of parliament, on TuesdayImage: Michel Euler/AP Photo/picture alliance

Braun-Pivet joined Emmanuel Macron's centrist alliance a year before she was elected to parliament in 2017.

Immediately prior to becoming speaker, she had a one-month stint as minister France's overseas territories.

Braun-Pivet will now work alongside the new Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, appointed last month, who is France's second woman prime minister after Edith Cresson, who held the title for 11 months in the 1990s.

Borne will set out the government's overall goals in a speech next week, and could face a confidence vote afterwards.

zc/rs (AFP, AP)