Names to watch out for in Sarkozy presidency

6th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 6, 2007 (AFP) - As president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy will appoint the country's next prime minister and help draw up the list of cabinet ministers. Here are some names to watch out for.

PARIS, May 6, 2007 (AFP) - As president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy will appoint the country's next prime minister and help draw up the list of cabinet ministers. Here are some names to watch out for.

Francois Fillon, 53, is cited as a likely prime minister. A close advisor to Sarkozy, Fillon regularly deputised for him in media interviews during the campaign. As social affairs minister from 2002-2004, he saw through a major reform of the pensions system. He is seen as a calm and competent pair of hands. Senator for the Sarthe department of western France, he is married to a Welsh woman and has five children.

Jean-Louis Borloo, 56, is also named as a possible prime minister. Since 2004 minister of employment and social cohesion, Borloo is seen as a popular politician with a strong record of help for the disadvantaged. Once France's highest-paid corporate lawyer, Borloo has a touch of the eccentric genius. After serving as president of Valenciennes football club in the north of France, he was elected the town's mayor and won plaudits for his regeneration programme. He is married to television journalist Beatrice Schonberg.

Rachida Dati, 41, has become a national figure as Sarkozy's official spokeswoman during the campaign. One of 12 children born to north African immigrants, she worked for many years as an accountant before becoming Sarkozy's advisor on immigration in 2002. She strongly supports Sarkozy's ideas on affirmative action to help minorities and is a hot tip for a ministry in the new government -- especially as he has promised a significant number of woman ministers.

Arno Klarsfeld, 41, is the son of renowned Nazi hunters Serge and Beate Klarsfeld. A lawyer and human-rights activist, Klarsfeld fell out with the French left when he took Israeli citizenship in 2002 and served in the Israeli army. In the last two years Klarsfeld undertook several mediation missions on behalf of Sarkozy, who was serving as interior minister. He drew up a report on the expulsion of illegal immigrants and helped negotiate a deal to end protests by homeless campaigners.

Brice Hortefeux, 47, has been a close friend of Sarkozy since their youth in the Paris suburb of Neuilly. He is currently junior minister for local government, and is likely to get a senior post in the cabinet.

Patrick Devedjian, 52, is a senior member of Sarkozy's Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) and was a junior minister between 2002 and 2005. During the campaign, he was regularly on the air-waves arguing Sarkozy's case. He is of Armenian origin and a vocal campaigner for recognition of the Armenian "genocide".

Claude Gueant, 62, is a senior civil servant who was Sarkozy's cabinet director at the ministries of interior and finance. Since January he has been Sarkozy's campaign manager. His appointment as Sarkozy's secretary-general at the Elysee palace is seen as probable.

Xavier Bertrand, 42, was health minister from 2005 till earlier this year when he resigned to become campaign spokesman for Sarkozy.

Eric Besson, 49, was the Socialist Party's economic specialist until his spectacular departure earlier this year in protest against Segolene Royal's campaign. He launched a stinging attack on her in a best-selling book, and then publicly backed Sarkozy in the second round of the election. He appeared next to Sarkozy in several rallies. He is a possible ministerial nominee if Sarkozy wants to broaden his government outside the UMP.

Michele Alliot-Marie, 61, has been defence minister since 2002. Once seen as a presidential rival to Sarkozy, she rallied to his side in January and was active in the campaign.

Jean-Pierre Raffarin, 58, was prime minister from 2002 to 2005. He was a vocal supporter of Sarkozy during the campaign.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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