Paris: For the second time in the history of the Fifth Republic, a woman will hold the position of Prime Minister of France: Elizabeth Burne61-year-old Minister of Labor during the first session of the Emmanuel Macronto replace Jean Castex.
Known for her affinity with the Socialist Party, having a solid university education and extensive political experience, she will be responsible for leading the battle for the upcoming legislative elections on June 12 and 19 on behalf of the presidential coalition, and in this event. Successfully, he will implement the unpopular reforms promised by the executive branch, such as extending the term of office.
“I would like to dedicate this date to all the girls. Be true to your dreams! Nothing should stop the struggle for the status of women in our society,” declared the newly appointed Prime Minister.
Elizabeth Bourne was an excellent technocrat, respected by environmentalists and enjoying good dialogue with the unions, an engineer who graduated from the prestigious École Ponts et Chaussées.
She held the position of Governor of the Poitou-Charentes region between 2013 and 2014, then Director of the Cabinet for Segolene Royal in the Ministry of the Environment, from 2014 to 2015. The new Prime Minister was also President of the Autonomous Transport Corporation of Paris (RATP) between 2015 and 2017.
Close to socialism, Bourne joined the presidential line-up, La Repubblica in Marcha, in May 2017, when she became Minister of Transport for then-Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.
In July 2019, she was appointed Minister of Environmental Transition and Solidarity, and the following year, Minister of Labour, in the government of outgoing Prime Minister Jean Castex, whom she thanked yesterday for his “complete commitment to serving our country”, at the farewell ceremony.
The French have known for weeks what Macron asked for. He had to be attentive to social, production and environmental issues. It must also be a woman, because since her appointment Edith Creson30 years ago, during the presidency of socialist François Mitterrand, only men were appointed prime ministers.
Bourne meets all of these criteria, though she lacks the essential quality that would have made her a true asset to the head of state a month before the legislative elections: political leadership.
With her, the president chose a woman from the center-left, when he came as prime minister in his first term from the ranks of the right.
A desire to rebalance his image, which discredits him being dubbed “the boss of the rich” for five years.
Recruiting from the center-left, Macron is also looking to complicate Jean-Luc Mélenchon. The leader of the far-left, who is third in the elections (with 22% of the vote) and the maker of a new left-wing coalition, bringing together environmentalists, socialists and communists, is calling on his voters to make him the next prime minister.
Borne’s upgrade did not trigger any “wouu!” effect. But “disturbing” was not the president’s goal, who preferred experiment above all. Macron wanted a loyal figure, responsible for running the administration, who knew exactly the state’s meanders, but would not obstruct projects he considered essential to France.
He needed a figure who would not violate an aspect of public opinion at a time when national unity was one of his priorities, with the left strengthening against the ever stronger far right.
Despite his political origins, Bourne would not bother the Right. The two major reforms he achieved in his career were the opening of the National Railway Company (SNCF) to competition and unemployment insurance.
As in those cases, Borne will have to use all his experience and skills to achieve the tough reforms announced by Emmanuel Macron, starting with retirement.
Promising during the election campaign to raise the legal starting age to 65 (versus currently 62), the presidential candidate risked putting thousands of French people on the streets.
Elizabeth Bourne, the former environment minister, will have to put up with the “environmental planning” promised by the head of state who, as is customary, even before the appointment of the team of the future government, began to apply pressure. His motto: “You have to act, act and act.”