Newly elected French President Nicolas Sarkozy has made something of a splash with his new cabinet. Seven of the government’s 15 ministers will be women. Bernard Kouchner, the socialist founder of Doctors Without Borders, will serve as the conservative government’s foreign minister. Justice Minister Rachida Dati is France’s first senior cabinet official with an ethnic minority background.

It should be noted that although Kouchner is a socialist, he was one of handful of French leaders to support the invasion of Iraq, although he did so on humanitarian grounds.


Of the female candidates, France will have its first ethnic minority figure in a senior cabinet post, with Rachida Dati as justice minister. She was Mr Sarkozy’s campaign spokeswoman and has strongly backed his ideas on affirmative action to counter racial discrimination in the jobs market.

Former Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie goes to the interior ministry. She was a loyal follower of Mr Chirac and was the first woman to lead the ruling UMP’s right-wing predecessor, the Gaullist RPR party.

Former Trade Minister Christine Lagarde is going to agriculture — a key job, with world trade discussions going on and EU farming subsidies up for debate again soon.

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