May 17, 2017 / 4:12 PM / 2 months ago

FACTBOX-Ministers in new French government

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(Updates with further ministers and posts)

PARIS, May 17 (Reuters) - French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe's new government comprises a mix of socialist and conservative officials, with an equal balance between men and women as well as people from civil society.

Philippe, a 46-year-old conservative lawmaker and mayor of the Normandy seaside town of Le Havre, was appointed by French centrist President Emmanuel Macron on Monday.

On Wednesday, a total of 22 ministers, including junior ministers, split equally between men and women, were named in his government.

Below is a list of the key ministers.

Interior Minister: Gerard Collomb, 69

A popular senator and mayor of Lyon, France's second-biggest city, Collomb is part of the centrist tendency of the Socialist party. He has never been a minister during his 40-year political career, but is named number two in the government protocol.

He was one of Macron's first close allies and vocal supporters among leading Socialists. He has been a staunch advocate of cross-party cooperation in running his city.

His priority in Lyon was initially focused on strengthening security. As interior minister, he will now be in charge of coordinating France's response to internal security threats including from Islamist militants who have carried out attacks on French soil.

Ecological Transition Minister: Nicolas Hulot, 62

Former documentary TV reporter Hulot is one of France's best-known environmentalists. Hulot has advised governments from the right and the left about environmental policies. He made a bid to run as Green candidate in the 2012 presidential election, but lost out to a more leftist candidate in the party's primaries.

Officials said his portfolio included responsibility for energy matters.

The foundation bearing his name is a driving force for green policies in France. Former president Francois Hollande made Hulot a special envoy for the environment but could not convince him to become a minister in his government.

Hulot helped prepare the 2015 United Nations COP21 climate summit in Paris and has good relations with top French companies such as EDF, L'Oreal and Carrefour, who sponsor his foundation.

Justice Minister: Francois Bayrou, 65

Long the face of centrism in France, with three failed runs for the presidency to his name, Bayrou, was pondering whether to make a fourth run when he was overtaken by Macron's dizzy rise.

The former education minister, now mayor of Pau, gave Macron a boost in the polls in February when he decided to join the former banker's ranks, sealing an alliance. Many observers then speculated that this would be rewarded by a ministerial role for Bayrou, who founded his own Democratic Movement (MoDem) in 2007.

The self-proclaimed "man of the soil" -- a father of six and practising Roman Catholic who married at age 20 -- also breeds racehorses at his ancestral home in Borderes in the southwest of France.


A European lawmaker who speaks four languages, Goulard is a respected operator in Brussels, having acted as adviser to former European Commission president Romano Prodi.

She is the number three in the government hierarchy and will be key to pushing wider European defence cooperation.

Goulard was born in Marseille and is a graduate of France's elite ENA school of government.

European and Foreign Minister: Jean-Yves Le Drian, 69

Le Drian has been a close friend of Hollande for more than 40 years.

Having backed Macron early, Le Drian takes over the foreign affairs portfolio after holding the defence post for five years under Hollande. One of the few popular ministers under Hollande, Le Drian is seen as the driving force behind France's counter-terrorism operations in West Africa and the Middle East.

He is also credited with leading a resurgence in French weapons' exports that have resulted in billions of euros in deals, including the first exports of the Rafale fighter jet.

The former university history teacher has spent 35 years in politics and is president of the Brittany region.

In a signal of Macron's future priorities, the ministry has been renamed to emphasise the role of Europe in foreign policy.

Minister of Territorial Cohesion: Richard Ferrand, 54

A Socialist lawmaker who steered Macron's flagship deregulation bill through parliament in 2015, he was one of the first parliamentarians to join the young centrist's movement.

Born to a plasterer and a shop assistant in the southwestern town of Rodez, he combines his working-class credentials with experience of the private sector - he turned around the bankrupt Mutuelles de Bretagne health insurance company - and has an understanding of the inner workings of government as a former cabinet adviser.

Minister for Health: Agnes Buzyn, 54

A qualified doctor, haematologist and university professor, Buzyn is a respected figure in the French public health sector.

She chaired France's agency for Nuclear safety and protection against radiation from 2008 to 2013, a position which involved reassuring the public after Japan's Fukushima disaster in 2011.

Culture Minister: Francoise Nyssen, 65

Belgium-born Nyssen has spent all her career at French publishing house Actes Sud, founded by her father, helping to turn it into one of the most important in France.

She studied science and city planning in Brussels before moving to the south of France, where the publishing house is based.

Economy Minister: Bruno Le Maire, 48

Bruno Le Maire, named French economy minister, is a reform-minded conservative whose expertise on Europe and staunch defence of the Franco-German relationship will prove valuable as Macron pushes for closer EU integration.

A pro-European, German-speaking rightist, Le Maire came second to ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy in the race for the leadership of the The Republicans party in 2014 and finished fifth in the right-wing presidential primaries last year.

After an early career as a diplomat, he held successive portfolois under Sarkozy - first European and then agriculture.

He will be supported in his new role by another conservative, 34-year-old Gerald Darmanin, a Republicans vice-president and former Sarkozy ally, who will be budget minister.

Labour Minister: Muriel Penicaud, 62

As labour minister, Penicaud will play a key role in pushing forward labour law reforms, one of Macron's priorities.

Past attempts to reform labour laws in an effort to reduce high unemployment, including under President Francois Hollande a year ago, have run into serious street protests and violence.

Since January 2015, Penicaud has headed Business France, an agency that aims to attract foreign investors and promote French exports.

Between 2008 and 2014, Penicaud was director-general for human resources at French food group Danone. From 2002 to 2008, she was a member of the executive committee of software firm Dassault Systemes. She held various posts at the Labour Ministry from 1985 to 2002.

National Education Minister: Jean-Michel Blanquer, 52

Blanquer has been the managing director of the ESSEC business school since 2013. Trained in law, Blanquer held teaching posts at French universities before being named chief education officer for French Guiana in 2004, according to a biography on ESSEC's web site.

In October 2006, he became deputy-director of the cabinet for the minister of education. He was chief education officer of the Académie de Créteil between 2007 and 2009 and became director general of secondary and junior school education from 2009 to 2012. He is the author of numerous works and articles on constitutional law, the theory of law, education and Latin America.


Jacques Mezard has been a centre-left senator for Cantal, a rural department in central France since 2008 and was one of the first lawmakers to join Macron's bid for the presidency.

His career in Cantal means Mezard has a grasp of the key issues facing the farmer, local officials say.

As agriculture minister, Mezard will find himself dealing with the head of France's largest farm union FNSEA, Christiane Lambert, who also comes from Cantal.

Minister for Public Accounts: Gerald Darmanin, 34

Mayor of Tourcoing in northern France, Darmanin was a senior regional official in the right-wing The Republicans party and was campaign organiser for former conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy's unsuccessful bid to win the party primary last year.

Darmanin distanced himself from The Republicans after the primary's winner, Francois Fillon, became embroiled in scandal, and after the first round of the presidential election he came out publicly in favour of Macron's presidential bid.

Darmanin has one grand-father who was Algerian and another Maltese and is proud of his modest background and his ancestry. "My mother was a cleaning lady ... my father ran a bar. My middle- name is Moussa," he told Liberation newspaper in 2012.


A scientist, Vidal has been president of the University of Nice-Sophia-Antipolis in Nice since May 2012.

Born in Monaco, she holds a master's degree in biochemistry and a doctorate in life sciences from the University of Nice-Sophia-Antipolis and a diploma from the Pasteur Institute.

She joined the University Nice-Sophia-Antipolis as a senior lecturer in 1995, going on to hold a series of senior posts there.

Minister for Overseas: Annick Girardin, 52

Girardin is a radical leftwinger who became a National Assembly member for the Saint-Pierre and Miquelon overseas territory near Canada in 2007.

Under the Socialist presidency of Francois Hollande, she was secretary of state for development and francophone affairs before being appointed minister for the civil service. This makes her, with Le Drian, one of two new minister from the outgoing government.

Minister of Sports: Laura Flessel-Colovic, 45

Born in the overseas Caribbean territory of Guadeloupe, Flessel-Colovic is an epee fencer and Olympic gold medal winner, retiring from the sport five years ago.

As a fencer, she was involved in controversy in 2002 when she tested positive for a banned substance and was suspended for three months. She denied wrongdoing.

She was France's flag-bearer at the 2012 opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in London, her last Olympics.

Transport Minister: Elisabeth Borne, 56

Borne was previously CEO of RATP, a French public transport operator. After receiving an elite education, she held various government jobs before becoming transport adviser to then Prime Minister Lionel Jospin in 1997.

She became director of strategy at SNCF French railways from 2002. After working briefly for civil engineering firm Eiffage, she took charge of the Paris town planning department before being named prefet, or senior central government official, in the Poitou-Charentes region, in 2013 and serving as head of the cabinet of Environment Minister Segolene Royal from 2014.

Junior Minister for Europe: Marielle De Sarnez, 66

De Sarnez is the right-hand woman of Bayrou, new justice minister and head of the centrist Modem party who gave up his bid for the presidency to back Macron.

She will be a junior minister under Le Drian.

An expert on Europe, she has been a member of the European parliament since 1999 and was campaign director for Bayrou's unsuccessful 2012 presidential campaign.

Government Spokesman: Christophe Castaner, 51

The Socialist lawmaker, who briefly worked as a legal adviser for the bank BNP Paribas, was one of Macron's main message-bearers on morning radio shows and TV channels.

In regional council elections in 2015, he withdrew his candidacy in the National Front (FN) stronghold of Provence, helping his conservative rival to become council president and shutting out the FN candidate, Marine Le Pen's niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen. (Reporting by John Irish, Brian Love, Sybille de La Hamaide, Ingrid Melander, Dominique Vidalon, Andrew Callus, Adrian Croft, Michel Rose, Gus Trompiz, Sybille de La Hamaide, Matthias Blamont; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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