Centrist politician Elisabeth Borne was named French prime minister on Monday, becoming the second woman in history to hold the post.
Borne, 61, labor minister in the previous government of French President Emmanuel Macron, succeeds Jean Castex, whose resignation on Monday was expected after Macron was re-elected last month for a second five-year term.
Borne spoke shortly after her nomination, noting the emotions she felt at the thought of being selected for the highest office a woman has ever held in France’s political leadership.
“I would like to dedicate this nomination to all the little girls by telling them ‘Go after your dreams!’ Nothing should stop the fight for the place of women in our society,” she said.
Macron and Borne are expected to appoint a new French government in the coming days.
Macron’s choice of Borne has been criticized by some left-wing politicians and their supporters. Far-left Firebrand leader Jean-Luc Melenchon said his appointment marked “a new season of social and ecological abuse”, claiming on Twitter that his legacy was equivalent to “a reduction in benefits for a million unemployed”. .
Borne’s first mission will be to ensure that Macron’s centrist party and its allies succeed in the French legislative elections in June. The vote, scheduled in two rounds, will determine which group holds the majority of seats in the National Assembly, which has the final say over the Senate in France’s legislative process.
Macron also promised a bill on the rising cost of living in France, where food and energy prices are rising. It will be prepared by his new government and should be presented just after the legislative elections.
If Macron’s party wins a majority in the assembly, then Borne will have to ensure the president’s promised pension changes are passed into law, including raising the minimum retirement age from 62 to 65. years. The proposed changes have been criticized by workers, unions and left-leaning voters.
Macron also promised that the new prime minister would be directly in charge of “green planning”, seeking to speed up France’s implementation of climate-related policies. Macron has promised to go “twice as fast” in his second term to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Borne has a mixed record, drawing criticism from workers, unions and left-leaning voters. As labor minister since 2020, she has implemented changes making it harder for the unemployed to get benefits and reducing monthly payments for some unemployed workers.
In 2018, as France’s transport minister, she faced a major SNCF strike against plans to open up the rail network to competition and cut new hires’ rights to keep their jobs and benefits. lifelong social. She eventually succeeded in getting the bill passed.
Still, Borne’s rise to power was formidable, despite never having held elected office. Closer to the traditional French left at the beginning of her career, she was chief of staff of the socialist Ségolène Royal, then Minister of Ecology under François Hollande.
She then became CEO in 2015 of the public transport company RATP, which operates the Paris metro.
She joined Macron’s centrist party in 2017. She was first Minister of Transport and then Minister of Ecological Transition in the first Macron government.
Borne is the second woman to serve as prime minister in the country after Edith Cresson, who served in 1991-92 under socialist president Francois Mitterrand. Cresson, amid rising prices and high unemployment, became very unpopular and remained in office for less than a year.
Earlier Monday, Castex went to the Elysee Palace to formally tender his resignation, which Macron accepted. In a tweet, Macron thanked Castex and his team, saying “he acted with passion and dedication to serve France”.
Castex succeeded Edouard Philippe in July 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. He sought to support businesses and revive the French economy following the damage caused by the virus and the successive closings of the pandemic.
In France, it is common for presidents to have more than one prime minister during their term.
Follow all AP stories on the 2022 French elections at https://apnews.com/hub/french-election-2022