PARIS May 16 French Prime Minister Jean-Marc
Ayrault's new government includes a mix of Socialist party
stalwarts and ambitious young party members.
Ayrault, the former leader of the Socialists' parliamentary
group, was appointed by French President Francois Hollande on
Below are the key cabinet ministers:
FINANCE MINISTER: PIERRE MOSCOVICI
Moscovici, 54, Hollande's campaign manager, was a junior
European affairs minister in the 1997-2002 left-wing government
that shared power with conservative President Jacques Chirac. He
has also been a member of the European Parliament.
He was a late convert to the Hollande camp, having initially
backed Dominique Strauss-Kahn to run for president until the
then IMF chief was arrested in New York last May on charges,
later dropped, of attempted rape.
A graduate of the elite ENA school for civil servants and
the son of French-Romanian intellectuals, Moscovici joined the
Socialist Party in 1984 after a youthful stint as a Trotskyist,
and soon rose to become the party's youngest national secretary.
FOREIGN MINISTER: LAURENT FABIUS
Fabius, 65, is a veteran heavyweight of French Socialist
politics. He became prime minister at just 37 under President
Francois Mitterrand, after serving as budget and industry
minister. In 2000, he became finance minister under former Prime
Minister Lionel Jospin.
A graduate of the elite ENA school, he competed against
Segolene Royal and Dominique Strauss-Kahn in 2007 to run as the
Socialist Party's candidate in that year's presidential
election. He has had a testy relationship with Hollande, calling
him a "wild strawberry" who hid in the undergrowth in contrast
to his own nickname as a party "elephant".
Fabius clashed with Hollande in 2005 when he campaigned for
a "no" vote in a referendum over a European Union constitutional
treaty that Hollande supported. Last year he backed Socialist
Party leader Martine Aubry against Hollande in the party's
presidential primary contest.
INTERIOR MINISTER: MANUEL VALLS
Spanish-born Valls, 49, is on the right wing of the
Socialist party. His tough line on law and order irked some of
his comrades but made him a natural fit for the interior
ministry, where he aims to dispel the party's image as soft on
He competed in this year's Socialist presidential primary
contest and quickly adapted to defeat to become a vital aide to
Hollande as communications director in his campaign team.
Valls is relatively scar-free compared to many party
veterans. One blemish he does bear is that he advocated shifting
welfare costs from payrolls to VAT sales tax, a move that
Sarkozy adopted as president but Hollande has vowed to reverse.
Becoming interior minister would give Valls control of the
police and a position of power that served Sarkozy well in his
time before running for president in 2007.
LABOUR MINISTER: MICHEL SAPIN
Sapin, 60, is one of Hollande's oldest and most trusted
friends. The two attended the elite ENA university together and
shared a barrack room during their military service.
His appointment as labour minister came as a surprise - he
had been expected to become finance minister, a post he held two
decades ago at the end of President Francois Mitterrand's term
and at the height of speculative attacks on the Exchange Rate
Mechanism (ERM) in 1992-93.
Architect of Hollande's election manifesto, Sapin is a
moderate left-winger and pragmatist who believes in European
An archaeologist by training and a collector of ancient
coins, he has said he wants to make it easier to do business in
France while increasing the role of unions and involving them
more in wage negotiations, on the German model.
The OECD has recommended France review its rigid labour
market regulation, but Hollande has avoided the topic during his
BUDGET MINISTER: JEROME CAHUZAC
Cahuzac, 59, advised Hollande on financial and economic
affairs during his election campaign.
A plastic surgeon by trade, Cahuzac joined the Socialist
Party in 1977 and gained a reputation for acuity on budgetary
questions, becoming a spokesman for the party on financial
affairs and leading the parliament's finance committee from
2010. He has never held a post in government.
DEFENCE MINISTER: JEAN-YVES LE DRIAN
Le Drian, 64, has been a close friend of Hollande for more
than 35 years. The former university history teacher has spent
30 years in politics and is president of the Brittany region,
but only briefly held a junior ministerial role in the 1990s.
Le Drian has been meeting with U.S. and NATO officials for
several months to try and ensure Hollande's campaign pledge to
pull French troops out of Afghanistan by end-2012 is kept to.
EDUCATION MINISTER: VINCENT PEILLON
Former philosophy professor Peillon, 51, will be in charge
of Hollande's key campaign promise to hire 60,000 more school
staff in the next five years and shake up the education system.
A member of the European Parliament since 2004, Peillon has
led discreet talks with teacher unions during the campaign about
how to reform the school system, a perennially sensitive subject
in a country where it takes little for students to hold strikes.
HEALTH AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS MINISTER: MARISOL TOURAINE
Touraine, 53, will have the delicate task of reforming
France's health and pensions systems. The daughter of French
sociologist Alain Touraine and wife of a French ambassador, she
has worked in several left-wing ministerial cabinets and first
became a member of parliament in 1997.
INDUSTRIAL REVIVAL: ARNAUD MONTEBOURG
Montebourg, 49, is an outspoken critic of globalisation who
advocates European protectionist measures. He favours using
massive state-directed investment to revive France's stagnating
industry. A lawyer by training, he is part of a new generation
of Socialists who denounced sleaze in the party's old guard.
Media-savvy and a good public speaker, he did surprisingly
well in the primary, placing third behind Hollande and party
chief Martine Aubry with nearly 18 percent of the vote.
CULTURE MINISTER: AURELIE FILIPETTI
Filipetti, 38, is part of an up-and-coming young generation
of Socialists too young to have served under Mitterrand. The
daughter of an immigrant Italian miner, Filipetti was a Greek
and Latin professor and a novelist before going into politics
first as a Green and then as a Socialist.
A parliament member since 2007, she has fought to try and
save a steel plant in her constituency, owned by
Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal, from the threat of closure. She
is known as a feminist who speaks out on womens' rights.