The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has remodeled his Government on Monday after having lost the absolute majority in the June legislative elections. A new cabinet that, despite the changes, maintains the main figures of the Executive who have held the Economy, Interior, Defense, Justice or Foreign portfolios since May.
The remodeling includes the departure of the Minister of Solidarity and Disabled People, the conservative Damien Abad, who has been accused by several women of sexual violence. Justice opened last week an investigation for attempted rape. Abad has been replaced by Jean-Christophe Combe.
The Ministers of Health, Brigitte Bourgignon, also leave the Executive; of Energy Transition, Amélie de Montchalin; and del Mar, Justine Benin, who were not elected in the legislative elections in June. It is an unwritten rule for years: the losers of an election cannot be part of the Government.
Bourguignon has been replaced by François Braun, a doctor of recognized prestige who presided over the national body for the coordination of hospital emergencies and who worked on the preparation of health proposals for Macron’s presidential campaign. Montchalin’s position is taken up by Christophe Béchu, who has been Secretary of State for Territorial Administrations for the last month; Benin’s, Hervé Berville.
One of the most notable additions is that of Laurence Boone, until now chief economist of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), who will work under the orders of the head of French diplomacy, Catherine Colonna, as minister Delegate for European Affairs.
Macron has made several changes with clear political significance, such as the appointment to a position as exposed and visible as that of spokesman, as well as head of the Democratic Renewal, of Olivier Véran, who was Minister of Health during most of the coronavirus crisis. COVID-19 and that for five weeks he had the portfolio of Relations with Parliament.
From now on, the Department of Relations with Parliament will fall to Franck Riester, who has been part of all the Macron governments, lately at the head of Foreign Trade. The former spokeswoman, Olivia Grégoire, is promoted and will become delegate minister for SMEs, Trade and Tourism. Clément Beaune moves from the European Affairs portfolio to the Transport portfolio.
A certain surprise represents the continuity of the Secretary of State for Development, Francophonie and International Alliances, Chrysoula Zacharpoulou, about whom it was speculated that she could suffer the same fate as Abada, given the risk of legal proceedings. Zacharpoulou has been the subject in recent weeks of accusations from three women who believe they have been raped or victims of medical violence during her professional practice as a gynecologist.
The new Executive will celebrate this Monday at 4:00 p.m. local its first Council of Ministers with a first urgency put on purchasing power, which will be the subject of a bill that wants to be processed in Parliament in July.
In addition, on Wednesday the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, will successively deliver a general policy speech before the two chambers. The question that she has not cleared up yet is whether she will submit to a vote of confidence, which would serve to assess the disposition of the opposition groups.