French President Emmanuel Macron Monday announced he had picked Elisabeth Borne as the country's new Prime Minister following Jean Castex's resignation.
Borne, who has been labor minister since Macron was first elected president in 2017, is the first woman to be appointed into that position since Edith Cresson 30 years ago under Socialist President François Mitterrand. Borne has also served as Transport Minister under former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.
The new Premier is an engineer by trade and a former member of the Socialist Party. I dedicate this my nomination to all young women. To tell them to make their dreams come true, so that nothing stops the battle for the place of women in our society, said Borne. I am very moved tonight, and I have a thought for the first woman who has occupied these functions: Edith Cresson, she added. Cresson lasted in office for less than a year, overwhelmed by an unprecedented unpopularity.
Borne also pointed out two of her priorities will be the international situation and the climate and ecological challenge.
Macron's political rivals right (Marine Le Pen) and left (Jean-Luc Mélenchon) were very critical of the head of state's choice. Macron's second term thus starts with a Prime Minister whose detractors criticize for her coldness and lack of flexibility, particularly in negotiations.
Borne's appointment will be under scrutiny during the legislative elections in mid-June. If disapproved, her government will fall and a new prime minister will have to be appointed.
The new Prime Minister's father, who survived the Holocaust, died when she was only 11, leaving her mother without resources. Borne's resources for her studies came from state subsidies for orphans of French war victims.
According to press reports, Borne was not Macron's first choice. He had considered Catherine Vautrin, who turned out to be too conservative and hostile to gay marriage. Following his electoral win over Le Pen, Macron had indicated he wanted a woman with left-wing and environmental credentials to lead the government.
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