Politics, Europe

France’s Macron reshuffles Cabinet after losing absolute majority

Reshuffling sees departure of minister accused of rape, induction of experts as ministers

Shweta Desai   | 04.07.2022
France’s Macron reshuffles Cabinet after losing absolute majority

PARIS 

French President Emmanuel Macron has reshuffled his Cabinet after losing his absolute majority in the National Assembly.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne will continue to head the new government that prominently excluded Damien Abad, the solidarity minister accused of attempted rape, and three junior ministers Amelie de Montchalin (sports), Brigitte Bourguignon (health), and Justine Benin (maritime) who lost their seats in the recently concluded parliamentary elections.

Last week, French prosecutors opened an investigation into Abad after rape accusations were levelled by three women shortly after his appointment last month. He has denied the allegations calling them "despicable slanders."

Abad will be replaced by Jean-Francois Combe, director-general of the Red Cross.

Emergency physician Francois Braun has been named the new health minister and OECD Chief Economist Laurence Boone will oversee the Europe portfolio previously handled by Clement Beaune, who has been given charge of the minister delegate in charge of transport.

The appointment of professional experts and specialists as ministers follows the naming of Black historian Pap Ndiaye to the post of education minister last month.

He and other top-ranking ministers have retained their portfolios, including Economic and Finance Minister Bruno Marie, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, Europe and Foreign Affairs Minister Catherine Colonna, Law Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti, and Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu.

Former Health Minister Olivier Veran, responsible for managing the responses during the two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been entrusted with the role of government spokesperson.

He succeeds Olivia Gregoire, newly appointed minister delegate for small- and medium-sized enterprises, trade, crafts, and tourism.

Macron’s alliance failed to win the absolute majority in the national assembly. The opposition parties also snubbed his offer for a “national unity government” leaving his alliance in the parliament with a relative majority.

The new government will face its first challenge in the National Assembly in a few weeks over emergency bills on purchasing power to fight the soaring inflation, energy, climate, and health issues, for which it will need approval from the opposition parties in order to pass the legislation.

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