French politics

An equilibrium government

Jean-Marc Ayrault, the new French PM, unveiled his so expected government list, the last Wednesday evening.

The government gathers experienced and novice people, left and right wing of the French Socialist Party, men and women, old and new generation, leaving some more or less good surprises.

Thus, there are no “Elephants”[1] present in the government in spite of their acknowledged experience and savoir-faire, excepted Laurent Fabius appointed as new minister of Foreign affairs. This choice may be hazardous in the context of the economic crisis but their presence might have been problematic insofar as there would have been a step backward, which would have been in contradiction with the idea of change put forward by François Hollande during the presidential race. What is more such a presence would have created a kind of competition between all the Elephants but also between them and the Prime minister (who has no governmental experience), which could have been a major problem for the governmental cohesion.

So, some important and major French socialist personalities as Elisabeth Guigou (former European affairs minister) Bertrand Delanoë (current mayor of Paris) and Martine Aubry (PS leader and Jacques Delors’ daughter) will be put aside and preferred to the Socialist party rising generation and the young personalities as Vincent Peillon, Manuel Valls, Arnaud Montebourg or Benoît Hamon, PS spokesperson, embodying the left wing of the party.

 The new president and his PM manage to renew the leaders, putting the Mitterrand Generation aside and respecting the balance of power between the different components of the French Socialist Party. This balance is also found in the framework of the alliances with the other left political parties – the Greens and Le Parti radical de Gauche (the Left Radicals) – who get important ministries. The task seemed complicated insofar nobody was to be unsatisfied even if the MRC (Mouvement radical et citoyen, the Jean-Pierre Chevènement party) got no position within the Ayrault government in spite of the explicit calls. Maybe it is needed to wait for the legislative elections results of June to hope something.

Because, it is highly probable the Ayrault government is experiencing an important reshuffle after the renewing of the French National Assembly. It is going to depend on the majority got by the French Socialist, that is to say absolute or relative, but also on the attitude of the traditional allies. The Front de Gauche (Left Front) behaviour will be very important insofar as if the Left Party (one of the composing movements), ruled by Jean-Luc Mélenchon seems to be reluctant to join the government, it is not really the case of the French Communist Party. Once again, a balance is needed the Ayrault government to rule without major constrains.

[1] Nickname given to the main and historic leaders of the Socialist Party and having started their political ascension with François Mittterand in the 70s and 80s.