Macron names Elisabeth Borne as France's new prime minister

Borne, 61, the labor minister in French President Emmanuel Macron's previous government, succeeds Jean Castex, whose resignation on Monday was expected after Macron's reelection last month to a second five-year term.
Newly-appointed French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne gestures as she attends a handover ceremony in the courtyard of Hotel Matignon in Paris, France.(REUTERS)
Newly-appointed French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne gestures as she attends a handover ceremony in the courtyard of Hotel Matignon in Paris, France.(REUTERS)
Published on May 17, 2022 07:36 AM IST
Copy Link
AP |

Centrist politician Elisabeth Borne was appointed France's new prime minister on Monday, becoming only the second woman in history to hold the post.

Borne, 61, the labor minister in French President Emmanuel Macron's previous government, succeeds Jean Castex, whose resignation on Monday was expected after Macron's reelection last month to a second five-year term.

Borne spoke soon after her appointment, noting the emotions she felt at being selected for the highest office a woman has ever held in French political leadership.

“I would like to dedicate this nomination to all the little girls by telling them Go after your dreams!' Nothing should stop the fight for the place of women in our society,” she said.

Macron and Borne are expected to appoint a new French government in the coming days.

Macron's choice of Borne was criticized by some left-wing politicians and their supporters. Firebrand far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon said her appointment marks “a new season of social and ecological mistreatment,” claiming on Twitter that her legacy amounted to “a reduction in the allowances of 1 million unemployed people.”

Borne's first mission will be to make sure that Macron's centrist party and its allies do well in France's parliamentary election in June. The vote, scheduled for two rounds, will determine which group holds the majority of seats at the National Assembly, which has the final say over the Senate in France's law-making process.

Macron also promised a bill addressing the rising cost of living in France, where food and energy prices are surging. It will be prepared by his new government and is expected to be presented just after the parliamentary election.

If Macron's party wins a majority in the Assembly, Borne will then need to ensure that pension changes promised by the president are put into law, including raising the minimum retirement age from 62 to 65. The proposed changes have been criticized by workers, unions and left-wing voters.

Macron also promised that the new prime minister would be directly in charge of “green planning,” seeking to accelerate France's implementation of climate-related policies. Macron vowed to go “twice as fast” in his second term to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Borne has a mixed track record, prompting criticism from workers, unions and left-wing voters. As labor minister since 2020, she implemented changes making it harder for jobless people to get benefits and reduced monthly payments for some unemployed people.

In 2018, as France's transport minister, she faced a major strike from the SNCF railway company against plans to open the train network to competition and end newly-hired employees' right to retain jobs and benefits for life. She ultimately managed to pass the bill.

Yet Borne's rise to power has been formidable, despite never having held elected office. Closer to France's traditional left at the beginning of her career, she notably worked as chief of staff to then-Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal, under Socialist French President Francois Hollande.

She became CEO in 2015 of the state-owned transport company RATP, which operates the Paris metro.

She joined Macron's centrist party in 2017. She was transport minister and then minister of ecological transition in Macron's first government.

Borne is the second woman to hold the position of prime minister in the country after Edith Cresson, who served in 1991-1992 under Socialist President Francois Mitterrand. Cresson, amid rising prices and high unemployment, became very unpopular and remained in office less than a year.

Earlier Monday, Castex came to the Elysee presidential palace to formally offer his resignation, which Macron accepted. In a tweet, Macron thanked Castex and his team, saying “he took action with passion and dedication to serve France."

Castex had succeeded Edouard Philippe in July 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He sought to support businesses and revive France's economy following the damage cause by the virus and successive pandemic lockdowns.

In France, it's common for presidents to have more than one prime minister during their terms. 

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Topics
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • A Fourth of July parade-goer runs for cover after gunfire was heard at the parade Monday morning, in a suburb of Chicago.

    Shooting at July 4th parade in Chicago suburb, 5 dead, 19 hospitalized

    Gunfire erupted at a Fourth of July parade route in the wealthy Chicago suburb of Highland Park on Monday, the Lake County Sheriff's office said. WGN TV, citing unidentified law enforcement sources, said at least one person was feared dead with multiple injuries. The parade was suddenly halted when shots were fired about 10 minutes after it began, sending hundreds of people running for safety, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

  • File photo of Pope Francis.

    Pope denies resignation rumours, hopes to visit Kyiv, Moscow

    Pope Francis has dismissed rumours he plans to resign anytime soon, and says that he hopes to visit Moscow and Kyiv after travelling to Canada later this month. Francis also told Reuters in an interview published Monday that the idea “never entered my mind” to announce a planned retirement at the end of the summer, though he repeated he might step down some day as Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI did in 2013.

  • People light candles during a vigil in memory of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed during an Israeli raid, outside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

    Al Jazeera reporter likely killed by unintentional gunfire from Israeli side: US

    Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was likely killed by unintentional gunfire from Israeli positions, but independent investigators could not reach a definitive conclusion about the origin of the bullet that struck her, the U.S. State Department said on Monday. The U.S. Security Coordinator, after summarizing investigations by both the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian Authority, concluded that gunfire from Israeli positions was likely responsible for Abu Akleh's death, the State Department said.

  • Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan.

    Imran Khan's party apologised to US over foreign conspiracy claim: Pak minister

    Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan's allegations of a foreign conspiracy to overthrow his government is not new. The cricketer-turned-politician had even named a US diplomat named Donald Lu for being allegedly involved in a conspiracy to remove him from the post of prime minister. Now, a senior minister in the incumbent Shehbaz Sharif government has claimed that Khan's party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has apologised to Lu, the US assistant secretary for south and central Asian affairs.

  • The peak was too unstable for rescuers to try to approach on foot, Comelli said, adding that recent hot weather had been a factor in the collapse.

    Drones, helicopters search for missing after Italian glacier collapse

    Helicopter crews and drones searched on Monday for around 15 people missing in the Italian Alps after part of a mountain glacier collapsed, killing at least six people and injuring eight. Sunday's avalanche took place on the Marmolada, which at more than 3,300 metres is the highest peak in the Dolomites, a range in the eastern Italian Alps straddling the regions of Trento and Veneto.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, July 05, 2022