Centrist politician Elizabeth Bourne was named France’s new prime minister on Monday, becoming the second woman in history to hold the position.
Bourne, 61, succeeded Emmanuel Macron’s former labor minister, Jean Castix, who was expected to resign on Monday after Macron was re-elected last month for a second five-year term.
Bourne spoke shortly after her appointment, noting the feelings she felt upon being chosen for the highest position ever held by a woman in the French political leadership.
“I would like to dedicate this nomination to all the little girls by saying to them ‘Follow your dreams! “Nothing should stop the struggle for the status of women in our society,” she said.
Macron and Born are expected to appoint a new French government in the coming days.
Some left-wing politicians and their supporters have criticized Macron’s choice of Bourne. Jean-Luc Melenchon, the leader of the far-left in Fairbrand, said her appointment marked a “new season of social and environmental abuse,” claiming on Twitter that her legacy amounted to a “reduction in benefits for the million unemployed.”
Born’s first task will be to ensure that Macron’s centrist party and its allies do well in France’s parliamentary elections in June. The vote, due to be held in two rounds, will determine which group has the majority of seats in the National Assembly, which has the final say over the Senate in France’s law-making process.
Macron also promised a bill to tackle the rising cost of living in France, where food and energy prices are rising. It will be prepared by his new government and is expected to be presented immediately after the parliamentary elections.
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 unions. Left voters.
Macron also promised that the new prime minister would be directly responsible for “green planning”, with the aim of accelerating France’s implementation of climate-related policies. Macron has pledged to go “double speed” in his second term to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Bourne has a mixed track record, which has drawn criticism from workers, unions and left-wing voters. As Minister of Labor since 2020, she has implemented changes that have made it more difficult for the unemployed to obtain benefits and reduced monthly payments for some of the unemployed.
In 2018, as France’s transport minister, she faced a major rail strike by SNCF against plans to open the train network to competition and end the right of newly hired employees to keep jobs and benefits for life. I finally managed to pass the bill.
However, Bourne’s rise to power was enormous, despite never having held an elected position. Closer to the traditional French left early in her career, she worked notably as chief of staff at the time for Environment Minister Segolene Royal, under French Socialist President François 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 Minister of Transport and then Minister of Environmental Transition in Macron’s first government.
Bourne is the country’s second female prime minister after Edith Cresson, who served from 1991-1992 under Socialist President François Mitterrand. Crisson, amid rising prices and high unemployment, became very unpopular and remained in the position for less than a year.
Earlier on Monday, Castex arrived at the Elysee presidential palace to formally submit his resignation, which Macron accepted. In a tweet, Macron thanked Castex and his team, saying: “He moved with passion and dedication to serve France.”
Castex succeeded Edouard Philippe in July 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He sought to support businesses and revive the French economy after the damage caused by the virus and successive lockdowns of the pandemic.
In France, it is common for presidents to have more than one prime minister during their term of office.
This story corrects that Bourne was not France’s Minister of the Environment under Hollande. She was Chief of Staff of the Minister of the Environment.
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