France’s Macron reshuffles cabinet and drops minister targeted in rape case

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French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday reshuffled his government after losing his majority in the French National Assembly. Follow our live blog to find out who is in and out of Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne’s cabinet. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

10:45 AM: Abad fell out of the closet

It is official. Damien Abad resigns from the French government and is replaced by Jean-Christophe Combe as minister for solidarity and social cohesion.

Combe was previously head of the French Red Cross.

10:35 a.m.: All eyes on minister accused of attempted rape

All eyes are on the fate of Minister Damien Abad, the Minister of Solidarity and Social Cohesion who has been accused of abuse by three separate women.

Prosecutors have opened a formal investigation into Abad after a woman accused him of attempted rape at a party in 2010.

Abad, who suffers from arthrogryposis, a rare condition that affects the joints, has denied the charges and has vowed to sue his accuser.

Newly appointed French minister Damien Abad denies rape allegations

New Solidarity Minister Damien Abad is “combating in the strongest terms” the “accusations of sexual assault” against him, he said in a statement to AFP on May 22, 2022, following rape allegations published by the Mediapart website. © Stephane de Sakutin, AFP

Accusations against the 42-year-old in the run-up to parliamentary elections earlier in June were seen as one of many factors leading to Macron’s MPs losing their majority.

The president was criticized by a schoolgirl in southern France on June 6, who asked him why he “put men at the head of the head of state accused of rape and violence against women”.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin is also the subject of a rape complaint filed in 2017.

10:05 a.m.: Former health minister set for job as government spokesperson, says BFM

Olivier Véran, who was health minister during the Covid-19 pandemic, will take over from the government spokesperson, BFM TV has reported, without citing the source.

Véran, a technocrat, became visible to the general public as a key minister who guided the country through most of the health crisis.

After the presidential elections in April, he was appointed minister for relations with parliament.

09:50: Minister of Finance stays on

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has informed France Inter Radio that he will remain in his current position.

That’s no surprise, as Le Maire is one of Macron’s most prominent ministers.

9:45 am: an inevitable reshuffle

The reshuffle has become necessary for Macron after several ministers were defeated in parliamentary elections last month, forcing them to resign, in keeping with French political tradition.

Several cabinet seats have also been vacant since Macron’s re-election in April.

But the scope of the overhaul could be wider, with Macron seeking to balance power in his own alliance and send a signal to voters that he has heard their call for change.

>> Read more: Can Macron strike deal with opposition parties after majority loss?

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