Wed. Sep 28th, 2022
Macron names Elisabeth Borne as France's new prime minister

PARIS, FRANCE: Centrist politician Elisabeth Borne was appointed France’s new prime minister on Monday, becoming only the second woman in history to hold the post.

Borne, 61, was the last labour minister in French President Emmanuel Macron’s cabinet, and takes over from Jean Castex, who resigned on Monday after Macron’s reelection to a second five-year term last month.

Borne commented shortly after her appointment, expressing her joy at being chosen for the highest position a woman has ever held in French politics.

“I’d want to dedicate this nomination to all the little girls out there by asking them to go after their goals!” she stated.

In the next days, Macron and Borne are likely to name a new French cabinet.

Some left-wing lawmakers and their followers slammed Macron’s pick of Borne. Jean-Luc Melenchon, a fiery far-left politician, claimed on Twitter that her nomination heralds “a new season of social and ecological maltreatment,” saying that her legacy amounts to “a cut in the allowances of 1 million jobless people.”

Borne’s first task will be to ensure that Macron’s centrist party and its allies perform well in the June legislative election in France. The two-round vote will determine which political party controls the majority of seats in the National Assembly, which has ultimate authority over the Senate in France’s legislative process.

Macron also pledged a law to address France’s growing cost of living, which includes rising food and energy prices. His new cabinet will develop it, and it is likely to be delivered shortly after the legislative election.

If Macron’s party obtains a majority in the Assembly, Borne will have to guarantee that the president’s promised pension changes, such as raising the minimum retirement age from 62 to 65, are implemented. Workers, unions, and left-wing voters have all condemned the proposed reforms.

Macron also stated that the incoming prime minister will be in charge of “green planning,” with the goal of hastening the implementation of climate-related legislation in France. In his second term, Macron pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions “twice as quickly.”

Borne’s track record has been uneven, drawing criticism from employees, unions, and left-wing voters. Since taking office as Labor Minister in 2020, she has enacted policies that make it more difficult for unemployed individuals to collect benefits and have lowered monthly payments for some unemployed persons.

As France’s transport minister in 2018, she faced a significant strike by the SNCF railway firm in protest of plans to open the train network to competition and eliminate newly hired employees’ entitlement to lifetime employment and perks. She eventually got the law passed.

Despite never having held political office, Borne’s ascension to prominence has been impressive. At the start of her career, she was closer to France’s traditional left, serving as chief of staff to then-Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal under Socialist French President Francois Hollande.

In 2015, she was named CEO of RATP, the state-owned transportation firm that runs the Paris metro.

In 2017, she joined Macron’s centrist party. In Macron’s first ministry, she served as transport minister and later as minister of ecological transition.

Borne is the country’s second female prime minister, following Edith Cresson, who served under Socialist President Francois Mitterrand from 1991 to 1992. Cresson became unpopular as a result of rising costs and significant unemployment, and he only lasted a year in government.

Castex formally offered his resignation to Macron at the Elysee presidential palace earlier Monday, which he accepted. Macron expressed his gratitude to Castex and his staff in a tweet, adding that “he took action with passion and determination to serve France.”

In the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic, Castex succeeded Edouard Philippe in July 2020. Following the virus’s devastation and subsequent pandemic lockdowns, he attempted to encourage companies and recover France’s economy.

Presidents in France sometimes have more than one prime minister during their mandates.

By adele rose

Adele Rose is the senior editor and employee of WGBS Pvt Ltd Digital wing.

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