Elisabeth Borne is France's new prime minister

France will have a female prime minister for the second time in its history. President Emmanuel Macron has appointed former labour minister Elisabeth Borne to succeed Jean Castex in the post. The 61-year-old politician is among the handful of people who have been on Macron's governing team from the beginning. Commentators discuss the appointment.

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Corriere della Sera (IT) /

A competent choice

Corriere della Sera welcomes the move:

“Borne's appointment comes in the middle of the campaign for the parliamentary elections from 12 to 19 June. ... If Macron's party - now called Renaissance instead of La République en Marche - is successful in the election, Prime Minister Borne will have to immediately turn her attention to the special law on purchasing power eagerly awaited by the French, and then to pension reform, the major building site in Macron's second term. She will do this with the same competence and negotiating skills that she already demonstrated as transport minister during the difficult reform of the state railway company SNCF.”

La Tribune (FR) /

A clever move

This is a logical choice, La Tribune concurs:

“The appointment of Elisabeth Borne aims to give the country both the novelty of a woman as head of government and the continuity of the economic and social policy for which Emmanuel Macron was re-elected. It is very clever to entrust the former Minister of Labour, Employment and Integration, who is listened to and trusted by even the most radical trade unions, with reforming the pension system. To defeat Mélenchon and dissuade those who are fond of his 'environmental plan', nominating a woman who has led the Ministry of the Ecological Transition and is acquainted with all the industrial and financial challenges involved in leading the battle against climate change is also a consistent choice.”

Mediapart (FR) /

Not up to the job

Mediapart is not convinced:

“By appointing Elisabeth Borne, Emmanuel Macron has deliberately choosen someone with little political capital. ... Elisabeth Borne will have to fight [to raise the retirement age to 65] after other, more urgent battles: the formation of a government, the campaign for the legislative elections, the implementation of the first measures announced for this summer (the law on 'buying power', food vouchers...). This is an eminently political role, more visible than any she has held so far, in which her image as a technocrat and austere style seem at first to be more a liability than an asset.”

The Spectator (GB) /

No threat to the president

If Macron chose Borne it was only because she is so obedient, The Spectator concludes:

“She is a technocrat to her bone marrow. She has never been elected to anything. And she will never, ever threaten president Emmanuel Macron. ... Deep down she's rather dull, one of those swots some of us remember from college, rarely separated from a slide rule. She's not a choice that's going to set the voters buzzing nor will she ever cast a shadow over her boss. ... She seems to have the job mostly because it suits Macron. There's no evidence of any political talent. But possibly that's why he chose her.”