News from Far and Wide
French President Emmanuel Macron (File Photo: IANS)
Paris, May 17 (IANS) French President Macron on Wednesday unveiled a gender-balanced cabinet in accordance with an earlier pledge, with 11 of 22 new ministerial posts taken by women.
Macron, 39, earlier delayed announcing the ministers due to last-minute negotiations and checks that none had tax issues, The Telegraph reported.
After naming conservative Edouard Philippe, a member of The Republicans party, as his Prime Minister earlier this week, Macron picked Gerard Collomb, veteran Socialist Mayor of Lyon, as Interior Minister and government number two.
Sylvie Goulard, a centrist MEP, was named Defence Minister. She takes over from Jean-Yves Le Drian, outgoing Socialist Defence Minister and a close friend of ex-President Francois Hollande, who was named Minister of "Europe and foreign affairs" in a new title underlining the importance of Europe for Macron.
Olympic fencing champion Laura Flessel, 45, and from the French island of Guadeloupe was named Sports Minister.
Nine other female appointees took culture, labour and health, among other portfolios.
Macron picked Bruno Le Maire a pro-European, German-speaking right-winger from The Republicans, as his Economy Minister.
Francois Bayrou, centrist leader of Modem, was named Justice Minister, and will be in charge of pushing through Macron's first law on "moralising" political life.
Gérald Darmanin, another right-winger, was made in charge of the ministry of "action and public accounts".
Nicolas Hulot, a highly-popular former wildlife documentary TV presenter, seen as the Gallic David Attenborough, was named Environment Minister.
Longtime Macron supporter and campaign manager Richard Ferrand was rewarded with the territorial cohesion portfolio.
Ahead of legislative elections in June, Republican party campaign chief François Baroin accused Macron of "putting a bomb under politics rather than remodelling it".