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France’s Macron Appoints 50% Women In His Cabinet, Many Are Political Outsiders

Emmanuel Macron attends a funeral for French Socialist party (PS) lawmaker Corinne Erhel, (10 May)Image copyrightAFP. The president-elect had made several conditions for candidates to sign up to

 

The party of French President-elect Emmanuel Macron has selected a diverse list of 428 candidates for parliamentary elections next month.

Only 24 of those chosen are outgoing MPs from the current parliament.

Some 52% come from civil society and exactly half are women, the secretary-general of La République En Marche (Republic on the Move) said.

Richard Ferrand said the choices marked “the definitive return of citizens to the heart of our political life”.

Mr Macron still needs to select more than 100 candidates for the 577-seat parliament and the party says its door is open to politicians from other parties to join.

Youngest is 24

The movement received more than 19,000 applications, Mr Ferrand said at a news conference, with 1,700 telephone interviews conducted with candidates.

The average age of the list is 46 “compared to 60 years for the average of outgoing MPs”, he said.

The youngest candidate is 24 years old, while the oldest is 72. Around 10 candidates are unemployed, double that are retired and a handful are students.

Cedric VillaniImage copyrightAFP. On the list: Cédric Villani, a famous mathematician, made the cut

All of the outgoing MPs chosen to run come from the Socialist Party of departing President François Hollande.

Mr Ferrand confirmed that Mr Macron’s ex-cabinet colleague Manuel Valls – the former prime minister who has now burned his boats with his Socialists – had not been selected.

He said that he did “not meet the criteria” because he had already served three parliamentary terms.

But the party will not be running a candidate against him in his constituency in Essonne, south of Paris.

France had been waiting to see if the party list would live up to Mr Macron’s pledge to clean up France’s public life.

Who are they?

Many of the candidates are unknown to the public and there are few well-known personalities on the list.

Among the diverse candidates is Cédric Villani, a famous mathematician with a penchant for flamboyant bow-ties and spider brooches. He won the Fields Medal – seen as one of the highest honours in mathematics – in 2010.

Jean-Michel Fauvergue, head of the RAID, the French national police intervention group, poses during a public exercise in front of the Chateau de Versailles, outside Paris, on October 11, 2014Image copyrightAFP. Elite police commander Jean-Michel Fauvergue is a candidate

François Hollande’s communications advisor Gaspard Gantzer, former judge Éric Halphen and former bullfighter Marie Sara are also on the list.

Although no MPs of the Republican party are candidates, at least two former allies of Alain Juppé – who lost the centre-right party’s presidential primary – have been selected.


Where’s the right? Analysis: BBC’s Hugh Schofield in Paris

It has escaped no-one’s attention that there are nearly 150 names still missing.

Why this lack of clarity? Why the delay? Why is Mr Macron’s party unable to do what it said it would do and give the country the full roster of names?

The answer is that it is engaged in some very old-style political calculation.

Emmanuel Macron knows that his weak point is his connection with the outgoing regime. He is a socialist at heart, as he has often said, and made his name serving a Socialist Party president.

If his party goes into the election fielding too many ex-Socialist MPs, it will be a sitting target for a vengeful Republican Party, eager to get its own majority and force the new president into a “cohabitation” (where the government is of a different colour from the president).

So the party wants a few more days to tempt over Republican Party defectors. Only in the middle of next week will it draw up its definitive list.   (BBC)

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