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Text: Leela, Jacinto, Aude Mazoué
Copy editor: Charlotte Wilkins
Editors in chief: David Gormezano, Stéphane Bernstein
Graphics: Studio Graphique - France Médias Monde
Managing Editor: Thomas Fenton
July 2022 © All rights reserved
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Élisabeth Borne

Prime Minister

Age: 61
Party: Renaissance
Previous job: Labour Minister

Cool, level-headed and with years of experience in government and the public sector, Élisabeth Borne is known as a “Swiss Army knife” for her diverse professional background and dependability. A civil servant, Borne began her career at the planning and public works ministry before moving to other ministries, rising steadily up the ranks as a senior functionary in Socialist administrations. Her political career began in 2017, when she was made transport minister after Emmanuel Macron’s first presidential election victory. Borne’s other ministerial positions have included minister of transport, minister of ecological transition, and labour minister. Her stint as labour minister earned her a reputation as a steely negotiator with France’s powerful trade unions – a skill she honed as strategy head of the state-owned SNCF railway company, where she hammered through tough labour reforms. Along with her reputation for loyalty, Borne’s steady, steely qualities will be tested as Macron attempts to push controversial pension and other reforms through a hung parliament in his second term.

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Bruno Le Maire

Finance and Economy Minister

Age: 53
Party: Renaissance
Previous job: Finance Minister

In the new cabinet, Bruno Le Maire retained his position as finance minister, a job he held for the entire five-year term during the first Macron administration – a rarity in France. His portfolios and responsibilities have expanded since 2017, underscoring his reputation as a heavyweight in government. A dependable leader, Le Maire has steered the finance ministry through five tumultuous years as France convulsed with the Yellow Vest protest crisis, strikes over proposed pension reforms and the pandemic. Beginning his political career as a conservative, Le Maire defected from the right to join Macron’s centrist party shortly after he was nominated economy minister in 2017 and has earned the trust of the French president. It should serve Le Maire well during his second stint as finance minister as the steady-handed politician steers the French economy through the economic fallout of the Ukraine war.

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Gérald Darmanin

Interior Minister

Age: 39
Party: Renaissance
Previous job: Interior Minister

At 39, the "first cop of France" held onto his critical post as head of France’s interior ministry lodged in Beauvau, a stately Parisian building located a stone’s throw from the Élysée presidential palace and symbolically close to the nation’s power centre. With the reappointment of the controversial hardline interior minister, French President Emmanuel Macron signaled his alignment with the right, contravening his promise to be a president for all, particularly left voters who enabled his re-election in a bid to block his far-right rival, Marine Le Pen. The interior ministry post is often viewed as a stepping stone to the French presidency, and the pugnacious Gérald Darmanin has never been one to hide his political ambitions. As the head of the internal security services, Darmanin has been on the frontline of France’s sharp tilt to the right, defending the police against accusations of racism and brutality, as well as talking tough on “Islamism” in a country that has experienced a spate of terror attacks. Police excess allegations failed to block the passing of a controversial “global security law” in early 2021, which made it an offence to “maliciously” share images identifying police officers on the job. Despite his tough on crime image, Darmanin’s record remains mixed: while overall violence levels have decreased over the past five years, sexual violence, fraud and assault have increased.

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Catherine Colonna

Foreign Minister

Age: 66
Party: No party affiliation
Previous job: French ambassador to Britain

Catherine Colonna is only the second woman to hold the post of France’s top diplomat. As a career diplomat, Colonna comes to the post with a wealth of experience, including her last post as French ambassador to Britain during a period of complex Brexit negotiations and bilateral tensions over fishing rights and immigration. For many French people of a certain age, Colonna is a familiar name after her stint as the official Élysée presidential palace spokesperson under Jacques Chirac. A graduate of France’s prestigious École nationale de l'administration (ENA), Colonna joined the foreign ministry in the early 1980s, and barring a brief stint in the private sector, has spent most of her professional life working for the foreign ministry at Quai d’Orsay in various posts and postings. As foreign minister, Colonna faces several international as well as internal challenges. These include the conflict in Ukraine and France’s role in anti-jihadist operations in the Sahel. Within her own ministry, the seasoned diplomat also faces the daunting prospect of pushing through proposed reforms in the diplomatic service, which include the scrapping of a special status of some senior foreign ministry officials and their integration into a broader pool of civil servants.

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Éric Dupond-Moretti

Justice Minister

Age: 61
Party: Renaissance
Previous job: Justice Minister

In July 2020, when Éric Dupond-Moretti traded his lawyer's robe for the justice minister post, it raised several eyebrows. Dubbed “L’Acquittator”— a mix of “acquittor” for the many acquittals he won for clients accused of serious crimes, and “matador”, a reference to his style and enthusiasm for bullfighting – Dupond-Moretti is a household name in France. The celebrity defence lawyer was also a vocal critic of the magistrature, which under French law includes both prosecutors and judges. But that’s not all. Dupond-Moretti had also famously called for judges to be held to account. It was not exactly a recipe for justice ministry success, it was felt. But with Dupond-Moretti’s retention of the post in the new cabinet, President Emmanuel Macron has signaled his approval of the lawyer-turned-justice minister’s performance on the job. Indeed Dupond-Moretti has been busy over the past two years. He has attempted to develop "local justice" to speed up the justice process for small offences. He has also created a code of criminal justice for minors, pushed through a proposal to allow the broadcasting of filmed trials, and reinforced professional secrecy for lawyers. But although he secured two budget increases for his ministry, Dupond-Moretti was unable to repair his icy relations with the magistrates' unions. It’s just one of many challenges the former celebrity lawyer will face in the new cabinet, but the "Acquittator" was never one to shy away from the fighting ring.

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Christophe Béchu

Environment Minister

Age: 48
Party: Horizons
Previous job: Mayor of Angers

The game of political musical chairs saw Christophe Béchu switch from a relatively minor minister delegate in charge of local authorities – which he served for barely six weeks – to the important post of environment minister. The previous environment minister, Amélie de Montchalin, had to give up her post after she was defeated in the June 2022 legislative elections. A member of the centre-right Horizons party founded by Édouard Philippe, a popular former prime minister, Béchu is at home with President Emmanuel Macron in the political spectrum. But critics say he is not at home in the environment ministry. His appointment was criticised by environmental groups such as the French branch of Greenpeace for his lack of experience in green transition, which “demonstrates a clear lack of ambition”, the NGO said in a statement. Greenpeace also decried the lack of stability at the environment ministry, which has seen six different ministers in five years. But Béchu is not a political neophyte: his past positions include mayor of the historic central French town of Angers and a senator from the Maine-et-Loire constituency. His extensive experience in local governance should be an asset in developing local-scale environmental transition.

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Pap Ndiaye

Education Minister

Age: 56
Party: No party affiliation
Previous job: Head of French National Museum of Immigration History

A political newcomer, Pap Ndiaye is an internationally recognised academic specialised in the social history of the US and of minorities. Born to a French mother and a Senegalese father, Ndiaye is considered a pioneer of black studies in France, which he developed in his 2008 book, “La Condition Noire” (The Black Condition). His appointment to succeed Jean-Michel Blanquer as education minister was widely viewed as Emmanuel Macron’s attempt to put the acrimony of the “Islamo-gauchisme” anti-woke debate stirred up by Blanquer behind and lend a nod to the French left dismayed by the president’s rightward slide. Before his appointment, Ndiaye was less known than his younger sister, Marie NDiaye, an author and winner of France’s prestigious Goncourt prize for her 2009 novel, “Trois Femmes Puissantes” [Three Strong Women]. An academic renowned for his equanimity and measured discourse, Ndiaye’s retention in the new cabinet has been hailed as a symbolic step towards increasing diversity in government.

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Sébastien Lecornu

Defence Minister

Age: 35
Party: Renaissance
Previous job: French Overseas Minister

Hailing from a working-class background, with a mother who was a nurse and a father who was a technician, Sébastien Lecornu entered politics at a time when his classmates were focused on university courses. “Youngest” is a qualifier that has been frequently attributed to Lecornu, who became France’s youngest defence minister in more than 60 years when he took over the ministerial post at the ripe age of 35. As a precocious teenager, Lecornu joined the then UMP party of former president, Nicolas Sarkozy at 16. At 19, he became the youngest French parliamentary assistant. In 2014, he was elected mayor of Vernon, a northern French town of 26,000 inhabitants. A consummate political strategist, Lecornu was made junior minister in the environment ministry in 2017. Lecornu may not be a political newcomer, but he is a novice in defence, a position of increasing importance following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and he is also responsible for the reorganisation of French forces in West Africa. Another major challenge is balancing the defence budget, a skill his predecessor, Florence Parly, possessed. Arms exports, which reached a record 65 billion euros over the past five years, are considered essential to balance the French defence budget.

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François Braun

Health Minister

Age: 59 years
Party: No party affiliation
Previous job: Head of emergency at CHR Metz-Thionville hospital and Samu-Urgences, an association representing emergency health care workers

As the emergency department head at the CHR Metz-Thionville hospital in eastern France, François Braun was on the frontline of the oncoming health crisis in late 2019, when he alerted the media about the new Covid-19 virus and the dismal situation in public hospitals. Braun was also head of Samu-Urgences, an association representing emergency health care workers. It wasn’t long before the emergency doctor with a greying beard made his first foray in policy, working on the public health platform in Emmanuel Macron’s 2022 re-election campaign. In May, Macron also entrusted him with a “one-month flash mission” to establish emergency public health response procedures. The 41 recommendations by the mission were adopted by Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne. Following the June legislative elections, when then health minister, Brigitte Bourguignon, had to quit her job after failing to win a seat in the parliamentary polls, Braun stepped in to take up a post his predecessor held for just 30 days.

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Olivier Dussopt

Labour Minister

Age: 43
Party: Territories of Progress (centre-left party allied to the presidential majority)
Previous job: Minister Delegate for Public Accounts

Olivier Dussopt took over the reins of the labour ministry – a position once held by Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne – following a rather discreet, two-year stint as minister delegate for public accounts. In his new job, Dussopt is entrusted with achieving two critical but difficult objectives of the Macron administration: achieving full employment in France and implementing pension reforms. While it’s a tough job, Dussopt’s ideological roots on the political left should come in good stead. As a Socialist party member, Dussopt was a regional councillor of Rhône-Alpes as well as the president of the Association of Small Towns of France, which gives him a solid background in engaging in social dialogue. As president of the Territories of Progress, a tiny party that was founded when Dussopt and former foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, broke away from the Socialist party to join Macron’s majority party in government, the new labour minister also has a history of dealing with France’s powerful unions.

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Jean-Christophe Combe

Solidarity and Social Cohesion Minister

Age: 40
Party: No party affiliation
Previous job: Head of French Red Cross

In the lead-up to the latest cabinet reshuffle, all eyes were focused on the solidarity and social cohesion minister spot, a post held by Damien Abad, who is under formal investigation over rape accusations. Abad, who suffers from arthrogryposis, a rare condition that affects the joints, denies the allegations, but his position in cabinet was getting untenable. Enter the new man on the job, Jean-Christophe Combe, head of the French Red Cross, one of the country’s largest humanitarian groups. Combe is not a well-known public figure, but he has experience in policy, having worked as chief of staff to mayors in France’s northern Champagne region.

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Marc Fesneau

Agriculture Minister

Age: 51
Party: MoDem
Previous job: Minister Delegate for Parliamentary Relations

Marc Fesneau, known as a friendly, loyal, bon vivant, succeeded Julien Denormandie as agriculture minister, a historically critical ministry in France and one with a rising profile as the world grapples with a global food crisis sparked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A member of the centrist MoDem party, Fesneau hails from the Loire Valley region, an agriculturally rich area known for its châteaux and moderate politics. The 51-year-old politician is a hunting enthusiast who has long coveted the agriculture minister post in France, one of Europe’s agricultural powerhouses. Now that he has it, Fesneau will have to roll up his sleeves and get down to a tough job that includes post-Brexit fishing disputes with Britain as well as the crisis in France’s agricultural sector with an ageing workforce and disappearing smallholdings.

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Rima Abdul-Malak

Culture Minister

Age: 43
Party: Socialist Party
Previous job: cultural advisor to Emmanuel Macron

Lebanese-born Rima Abdul-Malak succeeds Roselyne Bachelot as culture minister, a prestigious position in France. While Abdul-Malak was not a household name in France, she’s well known in cultural circles, particularly after her appointment as Emmanuel Macron’s cultural advisor. Abdul-Malak – whose parents fled Lebanon during the 1974-1990 civil war for France – has held several important cultural management positions. She began her political career at Paris City Hall, where she was chief of staff to Christophe Girard, the deputy mayor of Paris in charge of culture, before joining the staff of Bertrand Delanoë, then Paris mayor. In 2014, Abdul-Malak was appointed French cultural attaché in New York, a post she held until she was made cultural and communication advisor at the Élysée presidential palace. As culture minister, Abdul-Malak is tasked with overseeing a sector that has been badly hit by the pandemic as well as scrapping France’s TV licence system.

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Agnès Pannier-Runacher

Energy Transition Minister

Age: 47
Party: Renaissance
Previous job: Minister Delegate for Industry

The woman tasked with implementing Emmanuel Macron’s climate agenda has a background in industry and the private sector, raising eyebrows in some environmentalist circles. A graduate of France’s prestigious École nationale d’administration (ENA) Agnès Pannier-Runacher began her career as a finance inspector before moving to the private sector. An early supporter of Emmanuel Macron, she joined the government in October 2018 as secretary of state for the economy. In 2020, she was a junior industry minister when the pandemic struck and she was handed the tough job of ensuring the supply and distribution of masks, gloves and swabs in France, a task that earned her the moniker, “Madame Masques”. As energy transition minister, she will be in charge of leading the construction of new renewable energies and boosting the country’s nuclear industry.

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Amélie Oudéa-Castéra

Sports Minister

Age: 44
Party: No party affiliation
Previous job: General Manager of the French Tennis Federation (FFT)

Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, a former tennis player with a plethora of degrees from some of France’s most prestigious schools, faces a new challenge. At 44 years old, the former general manager of the French Tennis Federation (FFT) – who has also worked in the private sector with leading companies such as Axa and Carrefour – is returning to her childhood love, sport. She will have to draw on her experience in sports administration as well as discipline and sportsmanship as she takes on the task of overseeing the organisation of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

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Franck Riester

Parliamentary Relations Minister

Age: 48
Party: Agir
Previous job: Minister Delegate for Trade

Born in Paris, Franck Riester, appears to be Emmanuel Macron's go-to man, a steady ally from the centre-right. Initially a member of Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP party, the former mayor of Coulommiers co-founded the Agir party in 2018. He served as culture minister before taking on the minister delegate for foreign trade post. As the parliamentary relations minister, Riester faces his most challenging task to date as Macron attempts to pass sweeping reforms through a hung parliament with raucous hard-left and far-right MPs in the opposition seats.

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Olivier Véran

Minister Delegate to the Prime Minister, in charge of Democratic Renewal, Government Spokesman

Age: 42
Party: Renaissance
Previous jobs: Health Minister (2020-2022), Parliamentary Relations Minister (May-July 2022)

The health minister who became the familiar, reassuring face of the government’s handling of the pandemic is now the official public voice of the Macron administration. In February 2020, when Olivier Véran took over the health ministry, it looked like an unenviable move. But Véran took on his mission with professional calm and efficiency. With his regular briefings on the evolution of the pandemic, the once unknown MP from Grenoble became a familiar figure in France. Véran weathered the criticisms and debates over mask supplies, health passes and vaccination distribution with his popularity intact. Briefly appointed parliamentary relations minister, the former Socialist politician has committed to "speaking truthfully, speaking fairly".

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Marlène Schiappa

Secretary of State for Social Solidarity

Age: 39
Party: Renaissance
Previous job: Minister Delegate for Citizenship

Marlène Schiappa’s political career began in the northwestern French city of Le Mans. In 2014, aged only 31, she was elected deputy mayor of Le Mans. But it was with her blog for working mothers, "Maman travaille" (Mummy Works), created in 2008, and through her feminist and offbeat books that the young woman became a public figure. In 2007, she was appointed secretary of state for gender equality, a position she held until 2020. Media savvy and an outspoken champion of gender rights, Schiappa was responsible for legislation toughening the fight against sexual and gender-based violence. Her appointment as secretary of state for solidarity in the new cabinet marks Schiappa’s comeback in government.

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Gabriel Attal

Minister Delegate for the Budget

Age: 33
Party: Renaissance
Previous position: Government spokesman

At 33, Gabriel Attal is one of the youngest members of the government. Born in Clamart, near Paris, Attal began his political career in the Socialist Party before he joined forces with Emmanuel Macron and became the spokesman of the young movement, Les Républicains en Marche. In October 2018, he was appointed assistant secretary to then education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, making him the youngest member of government, at 29, in the Fifth Republic. He was responsible for implementing, among other things, the universal national service (SNU). His outspokenness and ease with the media enabled him to snag the position of official government spokesman from 2020 to 2022, a job that put him under the national spotlight. His new job is probably less high profile, but as a man tasked with balancing budgets, no less important.