Who is Elisabeth Borne? The new prime minister of France
Paris, May 17: French President Emmanuel Macron has picked Elisabeth Borne as France's new prime minister on Monday. The 61-year-old leader, who served as the labor minister in French President Emmanuel Macron's previous government, succeeds Jean Castex, after Macron's reelection last month to a second five-year term.
"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 was criticized by some left-wing politicians and their supporters.
Firebrand far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon said her appointment marks "a new season of social and ecological mistreatment," claiming on Twitter that her legacy amounted to "a reduction in the allowances of 1 million unemployed people."
Who is Elisabeth Borne?
Centrist politician Elisabeth Borne is only the second woman to hold the position and the first to head the French government since 1992.
She will seek to make a greater impact than France's first female prime minister Edith Cresson, who lasted less than a year under President Francois Mitterrand and quit amid a corruption scandal.
A close aide of Macron, Borne proved her loyalty to the president during his first term when she served as transport, environment, and finally, labor minister from 2020.
On her watch, unemployment fell to its lowest level in 15 years and youth unemployment to its lowest level in 40 years.
Borne has a mixed track record, prompting criticism from workers, unions and left-wing voters. As labor minister since 2020, she implemented changes making it harder for jobless people to get benefits and reduced monthly payments for some unemployed people.
In 2018, as France's transport minister, she faced a major strike from the SNCF railway company against plans to open the train network to competition and end newly-hired employees' right to retain jobs and benefits for life.
She ultimately managed to pass the bill. Yet Borne's rise to power has been formidable, despite never having held elected office.
Closer to France's traditional left at the beginning of her career, she notably worked as chief of staff to then-Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal, under Socialist French President Francois Hollande.
She became CEO in 2015 of the state-owned transport company RATP, which operates the Paris metro. She joined Macron's centrist party in 2017. She was transport minister and then minister of ecological transition in Macron's first government.
Borne is the second woman to hold the position of prime minister in the country after Edith Cresson, who served in 1991-1992 under Socialist President Francois Mitterrand.
Borne's first mission will be to make sure that Macron's centrist party and its allies do well in France's parliamentary election in June.
The vote, scheduled for two rounds, will determine which group holds the majority of seats at the National Assembly, which has the final say over the Senate in France's law-making process.