In Brief

Emmanuel Macron unveils gender-balanced cabinet

Half of French President's appointees are women, but biggest portfolios go to men

French President Emmanuel Macron has delivered on his promise to achieve gender parity in government by appointing an equal number of men and women to his cabinet.

He also made good on his pledge to bring together figures from across France's political spectrum, with conservative moderates, socialists and centrists all represented.  

Yesterday's announcement follows the appointment of Edouard Philippe, a conservative lawmaker from the Republicains party, as prime minister.

Of the 22 cabinet posts, 11 have been given to women, among them five-time Olympic fencing medalist Laura Flessel, who becomes minister of sport, and MEP Sylvie Goulard, the new defence minister.

However, four of the five biggest portfolios have gone to men: Bruno Le Maire, a conservative with Republicains, is economy minister; centrist Francois Bayrou heads up the justice department; socialist Gerard Collomb becomes interior minister, and the role of foreign minister goes to Jean-Yves Le Drian, who was in charge of defence under Francois Hollande.

Polling shows that the majority of French people are satisfied with Macron's new cabinet, "but they question whether it will be able to address the country's problems", says Politico.

However, says the New York Times, the President's cabinet picks aren't necessarily set in stone.

If Macron's En Marche! party receives "anything less than a decisive majority" in next month's legislative elections, "he could be forced to make individual changes or even completely reshuffle his cabinet to better reflect the makeup of the National Assembly", the newspaper says.

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