French President Emmanuel Macron chose Labor Minister Elisabeth Borne as his new prime minister on Monday as he prepares for legislative elections in June – the second time in 30 years that a woman has won the job. office.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Jean Castex tendered his resignation, paving the way for a cabinet overhaul following the president’s re-election in April.
Macron, who needs to show that he has heard voters’ frustrations expressed by low turnout and strong support for the far right and far left, is looking for a prime minister with green and social policy credentials.
Such a profile could help counter the challenge posed by veteran leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon, who won a strong third place in the presidential election, giving him the opportunity to rally a broad coalition of leftist parties in parliamentary elections from 12-19 December. June.
Borne, 61, will be the first woman named prime minister since Edith Cresson briefly held the post during the presidency of Socialist leader François Mitterrand in the early 1990s.
“It was really time for there to be another woman (in that position) and I know that Mrs Borne is a remarkable person with a lot of experience. I think it’s a very good choice,” Cresson told BFM television.
A soft-spoken career bureaucrat who served several Socialist Party ministers before joining Macron’s government, Borne had a brief stint as environment minister in 2019, when she pushed bicycle-friendly policies.
She then took over the Ministry of Labor and oversaw negotiations with unions that resulted in a cut in unemployment benefits for some job seekers.
Under his leadership, unemployment fell to a 15-year low and youth unemployment to a 40-year low.
Borne’s deep knowledge of the workings of the state will help Macron carry out more difficult reforms. She will be tasked with taking on France’s powerful unions to oversee her most contested electoral promise: raising the retirement age.
“Mrs Borne is against raising the minimum wage and retiring at age 65. Here we go for a new season of social abuse,” Melenchon said on Twitter.
A low-key technocrat who has never run for public office, Borne polished her credentials as an anti-union steel negotiator during Macron’s first term.
As Transport Minister in 2017, she weathered weeks of strikes and demonstrations to end a generous pension and benefits system for SNCF rail workers.
“She’s a real workaholic, someone who can work until 3 am and be back at 7 am,” said a former Borne employee.
Source: CNN Brasil