June 23, 2017
Following the legislative elections that took place on Sunday 18 June, a new cabinet was formed on Wednesday 21 June. A noticeable fact is that Centrist allies from the MoDem party, Minister for Justice François Bayrou, Minister for the Armies Sylvie Goulard and Minister for Europe Marielle de Sarnez have all been replaced following allegations that their party had unlawfully employed parliamentary aides to receive funding from the European parliament.
Emmanuel Macron, who was elected to a large extent thanks to voters’ rejection of traditional party politics and who promised to get rid of corruption and unlawful practices, appears to have achieved several of his objectives with these new appointments. There is parity in the number of men and women in the government, people from the right, left, and centre of French politics, as well as from civil society.
The new president is also reinforcing his own influence as several of his closest allies and advisors have been appointed in this new cabinet, such as Julien Denormandie or Benjamin Griveaux (his spokesperson during the campaign).
Macron now has the ability to implement his programme: a government he can count on, a Parliament which has been elected largely thanks to his popularity and an administration he will reshuffle in the coming months.
The members of the new government are listed below:
Edouard Philippe is a French conservative from Les Républicains, Member of Parliament and Mayor of Le Havre. He is a close ally to former Prime minister Alain Juppé, who ran unsuccessfully in the 2016 conservative primaries. Philippe’s appointment has divided the right in two camps: those who support the new administration and those who will be part of the opposition. Philippe is a former head of public affairs at Areva, and has practised as a lawyer.
Gérard Collomb is one of the heavyweights of the new government. He was the first member of the Socialist Party to endorse Emmanuel Macron for the presidency, when few believed in Macron’s chances to succeed. He is a long-time politician, the mayor of Lyon and a Senator. Collomb is a strong figure in the Lyon region, but was relatively unknown nationally until his endorsement of Macron. He is considered by some as one of the spiritual fathers of the new president.
A former TV star, presenting a discovery and adventure show, Nicolas Hulot is one of the most popular people in the field of environmental protection in France, and has contributed significantly to the rise of environmental awareness in the country ever since the 1990s. He had already attempted to enter the political scene in the past, including with a run for the presidency in 2007, but was never successful. He was a special advisor to president Hollande, as “Special Envoy for the Protection of the Planet”, and was one of the people behind the success of the COP 21 in Paris in 2015. It is one of the most surprising appointments of the new government.
Nicole Belloubet is a jurist and an academic, specialising in public law. A former member of the socialist party, she was elected as Toulouse’s deputy mayor in 2008 before being elected as a regional councillor from the Midi-Pyrénées region. She was then nominated to the Constitutional Court in 2013. Belloubet will have to tackle very important issues such as a bill on the moralization of public life. She is particularly vocal about issues regarding women’s rights.
A pillar of the socialist party, Jean-Yves le Drian was Minister of Defence for the past five year. A respected Minister in a time of crisis and terror attacks; he was unanimously praised by his peers and observers. He was also successful in his push to sell French defence equipment abroad, such as submarines and Rafale jetfighters. Although he was expected to remain at the defence ministry, his presence nonetheless ensures a sense of continuity in a time of crisis. Le Drian, who is also the president of the Regional Council of Brittany, first hoped that Hollande would seek a second term, then supported former Prime minister Manuel Valls before finally endorsing Macron’s candidacy.
Florence Parly was a special advisor for several ministers during the various socialist governments of the 1990s. In January 2000, she was appointed as secretary of state for the budget. She left politics in 2006 to work for Air France and then the SNCF. Her appointment comes as a surprise and many commentators think she has been chosen in large part due to her expertise regarding budget-related issues. Her most important task will be to implement Macron’s promise to increase the defence budget to 2% of GDP.
Jacques Mézard is a left-wing politician who is not well-known nationally. He has been a Senator since 2008 and was a lawyer before his entry into politics. He was a member of the team that developed Macron’s agricultural programme and was initially appointed as Minister of Agriculture in the first government. Since the previous Minister of Territorial Cohesion found himself embroiled in a controversy regarding suspicious financial arrangements, Mézard was appointed instead.
Agnès Buzyn comes from civil society. She is a professor specialized in haematology and immunology, and was previously at the head of the High Authority for Health and chaired the National Institute for Research on Cancer. She is a supporter of cooperation between health professionals and industry.
A civil servant, former private secretary to Prime minister Dominique de Villepin (2005-2007), he is a member of parliament since 2007. He was Minister for Agriculture in Nicolas Sarkozy’s government (2008-2012) and unsuccessfully competed for the leadership of the conservative party in 2014. Le Maire failed but his unexpected score (29%) caught the attention of commentators. He later competed during the French conservative primaries ahead of the 2017presidential election. He is seen as a pragmatist.
Françoise Nyssen comes from civil society. She is a recognised figure in the publishing sector and is CEO of publishing company Actes Sud. She endorsed Macron’s vision for culture publically ahead of the elections.
Muriel Penicaud is a civil servant and a recognised expert in labour regulation. She has worked in the public sector, as head of Business France and as a special advisor to the Minister of Labour, and also in the private sector, as head of Human Resources at Danone, and deputy CEO of Dassault Systèmes.
Jean-Michel Blanquer is a legal expert and was until his appointment the Managing Director of the famous French business school ESSEC. He previously worked as a special advisor to the Minister of National Education. He has spent his entire career in the field of education.
Stéphane Travert is a socialist Member of Parliament. His appointment as Minister of Food and Agriculture comes as a total surprise since he is relatively unknown nationally. He is close to Emmanuel Macron and supported his candidacy early.
A former special advisor in the government of François Fillon, Gérarld Darmanin is seen as a rising star of the conservative party Les Républicains. He was elected as Member of Parliament in 2012, and as mayor of Tourcoing in 2014. A close ally to former president Sarkozy, he headed his campaign for the conservatives primaries in 2016. Darmanin is a significant catch for Emmanuel Macron and embodies the new wave of French political leaders in which the new President wants to invest.
Frédérique Vidal comes from civil society. She is a researcher in life sciences, and was previously the president of the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
Annick Girardin is a socialist Member of Parliament who served under the former government as Secretary for Francophonie and Minister for State Reform.
Laura Flessel-Colovic is a five-time Olympic fencing champion. Her nomination came as a surprise. It can be explained as a consequence of Paris’ application for the 2024 Olympics. She will lead the project.
A French senator and vice president of the Senat, Jacqueline Gourault is not a very well-known political figure nationally. She is a member of the MoDem party, the centrist party led by President Macron’s ally, François Bayrou. Her appointment is seen as a gesture toward the MoDem party and Bayrou who had to resign from the government due to a funding scandal.
A civil servant, Elisabeth Borne worked as private secretary for the previous Minister for Ecology and has held important positions in the private sector, such as CEO of RATP Group (Paris Underground and Transportation Company). Previously, she worked as a special advisor to the Ministry of Education in the 1990s.
A civil servant, Nathalie Loiseau has spent most of her career in the diplomatic service, where she was the spokesperson of the French Embassy in Washington DC, head of the North Africa section, head of Human Resources and director general of the Ministry. She then headed ENA, the French national school of administration. She is close to Alain Juppé with whom she worked when he was Minister for Foreign affairs.
A close ally to Emmanuel Macron, Christophe Castaner was a Socialist Member of Parliament. A former special advisor in various ministries, he endorsed Macron at an early stage and his appointment is seen as a reward for his support.
Founder and president of the network ‘Mum works’, she was involved in Emmanuel Macron’s campaign in charge of gender equality.
Sophie Cluzel comes from civil society. She founded several associations to allow children with disabilities to study.
A leading figure of the digital economy, Mounir Mahjoubi was president of the national council for digital technology. He took part in the socialist presidential campaigns in 2007 and in 2012, where he was in charge of digital matters. He was then Emmanuel Macron’s advisor for digital-related matters.
A close ally to Bruno Le Maire, this rising star of French politics was the President of the Conseil general de l’Eure, and the Director of campaign for Bruno Le Maire Presidential bid.
Brune Poirson started her political career in London as a parliamentary assistant. She worked in several countries before moving back to France and joined En Marche. She was recently elected as Member of Parliament under the En Marche label.
Jean Baptiste Lemoyne is a right-wing politician from the Les Republicain party. A close ally to former minister Jean-François Copé, he became a Senator in 2014. He supported former Alain Juppé in the conservative primary.
Genevieve Darrieussecq is a right-wing politician, close to Alain Juppé. Following Juppe’s defeat during the primaries, she publicly endorsed Macron. She was elected as a Member of Parliament in the June election.
A close ally to Emmanuel Macron, Julien Denormandie has served previously in various ministries and under Pierre Moscovici and Emmanuel Macron at the Ministry of the Economy. He resigned as a special advisor in early 2016 to take part in the En Marche project.
A close ally to former socialist Minister of Economy Arnaud Montebourg he also worked with former health minister Marisol Touraine. He shortly worked in the private sector as head of public relations of Unibail Rodemco, and then helped create En Marche. He has been elected Member of Parliament for Paris as part of the June election.