The new French government of President Sarkozy has been named under the leadership of Prime Minister Francois Fillon. Fillon, who masterminded Sarkozy’s election campaign presides over a slimmed down cabinet, including an opposition politician in a senior post for the first time, and a centrist.
Former right-wing Prime Minister Alain Juppé is, in effect, Fillon’s second-in-command, heading a new super-ministry covering the environment and sustainable development. The maverick left-winger and human-rights activist, Bernard Kouchner who campaigned for the socialist Segolene Royal, is named foreign minister.
The centrist, Herve Morin is in charge of defence taking over from Michele Alliot-Marie, one of 7 women in the 15 strong cabinet, who has been given the interior ministry, a department stripped of its responsibility for immigration. Jean-Louis Borloo is in charge of the economy. He was seen as the social-conscience of the previous conservative government. Not afraid to criticise Sarkozy in the past, he now has to implement some difficult employment reforms.
41 year old Rachida Dati grew up on a poor housing estate, one of 12 children. She’s now Justice Minister, after being Sarkozy’s campaign spokesperson. One of the first tasks of the new government is to campaign for June’s parliamentary elections.
If Sarkozy’s UMP party does badly, he’ll be forced to name a new government, and to work with the opposition. Opinion polls suggest he will do well though, and he wants ministers to begin preparing laws for the new parliament this summer.