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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 June 2007, 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK
French president's cabinet team
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has unveiled his new cabinet, slashing the number of posts to 15, appointing women to half of them and bringing in people from across the political divide.

Jean-Louis Borloo - Environment, Sustainable Development, Energy, Transport

Nicknamed the "social conscience" of the previous conservative administration, former lawyer Mr Borloo transformed the northern town of Valenciennes when he was its mayor, overseeing its revival from a post-industrial slump.

As labour minister he won praise for leading a drive to cut unemployment. But that will again be a priority for him, as the jobless rate of 8.3% is among the highest in Europe.

He is now secretary of state and heads the new environment super-ministry, making him effectively number two in Prime Minister Francois Fillon's cabinet.

The post had been earmarked for Alain Juppe, a prominent figure on the French right, but he was forced to quit after losing his seat in the parliamentary election.

Christine Lagarde - Economy, Finance and Employment

Ms Lagarde, named trade minister in June 2005, was involved in difficult world trade negotiations, seeking to maintain France's generous subsidies for farmers. She has, however, admitted that the EU's subsidy system is in need of reform.

She is now France's first female finance minister, with the task of steering some of President Sarkozy's promised reforms, including tax cuts and measures to liberalise the labour market.

She had been named agriculture minister in Mr Fillon's cabinet, but was moved to the economy portfolio in the 19 June reshuffle.

Before serving as trade minister she was a senior corporate lawyer at US law firm Baker and McKenzie.

Xavier Bertrand - Social Affairs and Work

Mr Sarkozy's main spokesman during his campaign because of his closeness to the French people, Mr Bertrand is relatively new to the French political scene.

He was first elected to parliament in 2002 and was appointed junior minister for health insurance in 2004, introducing a difficult reform of France's lavish health insurance system.

Brice Hortefeux - Co-development, Immigration, Integration, National Identity

One of Mr Sarkozy's closest allies for more than 30 years. The son of a banker, Mr Hortefeux, who has been given a newly-created ministry, is the only member of his friend's innermost circle to make it to the cabinet.

Xavier Darcos - Education

An academic armed with a doctorate in Latin and a second in literature and humanities, Mr Darcos moved from being an education civil servant to chief of staff for centrist Francois Bayrou in the mid-1990s.

He held the role of schools minister in 2002 and was later shifted to overseas co-operation and development before being axed in a 2005 reshuffle.

Bernard Kouchner - Foreign Affairs

Mr Kouchner is an outspoken former socialist health minister and UN governor of Kosovo.

Widely admired in France, he founded the medical aid agency Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and is convinced that countries have a moral duty to intervene in humanitarian crises.

He supported the US-led war in Iraq and has vowed to put human rights at the top of France's foreign policy.

Herve Morin - Defence

A defector from Bayrou's team, he made the jump from civil servant to politician in 1989. In the outgoing national assembly, Mr Morin sat on the defence commission. He heads the France-Niger friendship committee.

Eric Woerth - Budget, Public Accounts

Mr Woerth has a professional background as a consultant and auditor. Analysts say the mayor of Chantilly will need these skills to manage the nation's public purse strings.

Rachida Dati - Justice

The daughter of illiterate Algerian and Moroccan parents, Ms Dati is one of 12 children. She studied law at university and then accounting, working for oil giant, Elf.

She trained as a magistrate from 1997-1999 and joined Mr Sarkozy's interior ministry in 2002, playing a key role in improving relations with immigrant communities in the suburbs.

Ms Dati acted as Mr Sarkozy's spokeswoman during his presidential campaign. She is the first person from an ethnic minority to hold a senior French cabinet post.

Michele Alliot-Marie - Interior

The most experienced of Mr Sarkozy's female appointments, Ms Alliot-Marie has held the post of defence minister since 2002. She is seen as a safe pair of hands and discreetly efficient. The decision to remove immigration from the interior ministry portfolio means the job may be less high-profile.

Michel Barnier - Agriculture

Mr Barnier served as French foreign minister in 2004-05, but was replaced after French voters rejected the EU constitution in May 2005.

He joined Prime Minister Fillon's cabinet in the 19 June reshuffle.

He is well known in EU circles, having served as EU commissioner for regional policy and institutional reform in 1999-2004. That position put him in charge of the EU's second largest budget after agriculture.

Christine Albanel - Culture

Roselyne Bachelot - Health and Sport

Christine Boutin - Social Cohesion

Valerie Pecresse - Research, Higher Education


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