The new French government, handpicked by President Nicolas Sarkozy and his Prime Minister, Francois Fillon, will be unveiled today. It contains some surprises and appears to reflect Sarkozy’s desire to turn a page in French politics, and reach out to a part of the electorate that did not vote for him. It is expected one of the top jobs will go to one of France’s most popular figures, Bernard Kouchner, an outspoken past minister in Socialist governments. He is tipped for the foreign ministry.
There may also be a notable return for one of the right’s most controversial politicians, former prime minister Alain Juppé. It is understood he will be in charge of a so-called “sustainable development super-ministry”, and will be the government’s official number two.
Michele Alliot-Marie is expected to move from defence to the interior ministry, and Rachida Dati, an emblematic magistrate who worked her way up from the humblest of origins, may get the justice portfolio. Jean-Louis Borloo, previously charged with regenerating France’s troubled city suburbs, is expected to take on a powerful new economic strategy ministry, and Jean-Pierre Jouyet, an aide to former Socialist leader Lionel Jospin, may get responsibility for European affairs.