Macron cabinet: Women are half of France's new ministers

French President Emmanuel Macron has unveiled a gender-balanced cabinet in accordance with an earlier pledge, with 11 of 22 posts taken by women.

Sylvie Goulard is defence minister while Olympic fencing champion Laura Flessel is sports minister.

Bruno Le Maire is economy minister, Gérard Collomb is interior minister and François Bayrou is justice minister.

Mr Macron's decision to pluck figures from across the political spectrum has sent the French right into disarray.

Mr Le Maire is a conservative moderate, Mr Collomb is the Socialist mayor of Lyon and Mr Bayrou is a veteran centrist.

Some 170 elected officials from the right were earlier criticised by hundreds of other lawmakers after they signed a statement backing Mr Macron.

One accused Mr Macron of "blowing up" the political landscape.

France's new president will hope his team delivers a majority in parliamentary elections next month.

He delivered on his pledge of a cabinet of parity - though only one of the top five posts, that of defence, went to a woman.

Other ministerial appointees include Jean-Yves Le Drian, in charge of defence under President François Hollande, who will become foreign minister. Nicolas Hulot, a well-known environmentalist, becomes ecology minister.

Long-time Macron supporter and campaign manager Richard Ferrand is rewarded with the territorial cohesion portfolio.

Other ministerial appointees include:

    Agnès Buzyn - health
    Murielle Pénicaud - labour
    Mounir Mahjoubi - junior minister for digital affairs
    Françoise Nyssen - culture
    Jean-Michel Blanquer - national education
    Jacques Mézard - agriculture and food

Marlène Schiappa, whose successful blog Maman Works saw her dubbed the "spokeswoman for working mums", becomes junior minister for equality between women and men.

As well as the political centre ground, Mr Macron also took in figures from the left.

The announcement was delayed after candidates were background-checked for their tax records and any potential conflicts of interest.

'A slap'

It comes amid consternation among forces of both the left and right at Mr Macron's offer to join him in his political project of bridging the divide.

After he named Republican Edouard Philippe as prime minister on Monday, more than 170 elected conservatives agreed to sign up to the project, some claiming they were witnessing the "transformation" of politics.

However, the Republican party rejected Mr Macron's "outstretched hand" ahead of upcoming election.

It announced it was expelling Mr Phillipe, along with new economy minister Bruno Le Maire, and Gérald Darmanin, who took responsibility for public accounts.

In response, Mr Le Maire said he had "chosen to serve" and said he believed "France is worth more than all the [political] parties".

- BBC-

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