Just appointed Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne is faced with a double emergency: to form her government team and lead the battle for the legislative elections, while meeting expectations on purchasing power and the climate, relayed by oppositions that await her in the turning.

Ms. Borne had lunch on Tuesday with Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée where she spent a good three hours with the head of state to work on the composition of the future government. This could be unveiled on Wednesday or Thursday before the next Council of Ministers organized the next day.

According to the entourage of the new head of government, the two heads of the executive first lean towards a new “tightened” government team, which will then be expanded in a second phase, probably after the legislative elections of June 12 and 19.

Because it is first of all as patroness of the majority that the former Minister of Labour, Transport and Ecological Transition approaches her new functions, with the roadmap of once again giving a majority to the macronie at The national assembly.

She chose as director of cabinet Aurélien Rousseau, 45, former director general of the Regional Health Agency of Ile-de-France, former deputy director of cabinet of the Socialist Prime Ministers Manuel Valls and Bernard Cazeneuve.

“Courage to all, very good campaign to all!”, She launched, according to participants, Tuesday morning to the deputies of the macronie gathered at the Palais-Bourbon, wishing “the widest possible majority” to “carry” the “clear and ambitious program” of President Emmanuel Macron.

Never elected herself, she is running in the sixth constituency of Calvados, which had placed Mr. Macron clearly in the lead in the two rounds of the presidential election. According to those around her, she should campaign there at the end of the week.

Become Monday the second woman to lead the French government under the Fifth Republic, 30 years after Edith Cresson, Elisabeth Borne, 61, is relatively unknown to the French. A former member of the Socialist Party, this graduate of the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées and Polytechnique was notably president of the RATP, a large public transport company, after having been a pupil of the Nation following the death of her father while she was 11 years old.

“She is a remarkable woman, with an exemplary republican career. She has known the business world and knows the state well. She is the right person to meet the challenges of the moment”, welcomed the president LREM of the National Assembly, Richard Ferrand, to AFP.

However, Ms. Borne cannot count on some state of grace in the face of opposition: the rebellious Jean-Luc Mélenchon considers her “among the harshest figures of social abuse” in macronie, while the former candidate RN Marine Le Pen predicts the “continuation of the policy of contempt, of deconstruction of the state, of social destruction”.

Like the secretary general of the CGT Philippe Martinez – “she listens but she does not hear” – most union officials judge Ms. Borne, who notably led the reform of unemployment insurance and the opening to competition from the SNCF network, open to discussion but often too reluctant to deviate from its line.

On the right, Xavier Bertrand, president (ex-LR) of Hauts-de-France, believes on the contrary that with this appointment, the “left-wing Macron wants to impose a left-wing policy”. He is “a person of high quality, very intelligent, a huge hard worker. Afterwards, there is the problem that Elisabeth Borne is a very committed personality on the left”, abounded the ex-candidate LR Valérie Pécresse.

On the merits, Ms. Borne called during her short speech on the steps of Matignon on Monday to “act faster and stronger” in the face of “the climate and ecological challenge”.

Mr. Macron, who was looking for a “social”, “ecological” and “productive” profile, outlined in a tweet the priorities of his new head of government, who will have the prerogative of the Ecological Transition portfolio: “Ecology, health, education, full employment, democratic renaissance, Europe and security”.

But it is on purchasing power, the number one concern of the French, that she will first have to convince, in a context of high inflation. It is especially expected at the turn to launch the explosive pension reform.

And there will be “two projects to open very quickly: the territorial organization of health, and the national organization of National Education and its local variation”, recalled the boss of the LREM deputies, Christophe Castaner, on France Inter, promising “consultation” and “debates” on the part of this former prefect, who will have to embody the “refounded method” promised by Mr. Macron.


05/17/2022 17:48:53 –         Paris (AFP) –         © 2022 AFP