History is made in France as the new Socialist government of President François Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault appointed Christiane Taubira as the Minister of Justice. The French Guyanese lawmaker becomes the highest ranking Black cabinet official ever in French government, as well as the highest-ranking woman in the current administration.
There are three Black ministers in Hollande's new cabinet. France is "now the frontrunner of political diversity in Europe. In not a single European country with a large black community there has been a black cabinet Minister in recent history," reports Afro-Europe.
The line-up: Taubira, from French Guiana, is the new Minister of Justice. George Pau-Langevin from Guadeloupe, a member of Parliament representing Paris, is named junior Minister for Educational success. And Victorin Lurel, also from Guadeloupe, is the new Minister in charge of overseas departments. He succeeds Marie-Luce Penchard, who was also from Guadeloupe.
Although Taubira is not the first black Minister in France, with her appointment as Minister of Justice she can be seen as being the first black person in France to hold such an important cabinet position. Taubira, who is on the left of the Socialist Party, served as a deputy at the French National Assembly since 1993. She is also the author of a law, now called "Loi Taubira,” voted by the French Assembly in 2001, which recognizes the slave trade and slavery as crimes against humanity.
The new cabinet—described as France's most diverse—is comprised of 34 ministers. "While sixteen other [women] have been given portfolios out of the 34 available, apart from Taubira, the top jobs have all gone to men," notes EuroNews.
And: "The cabinet includes 7 people from French ethnic minorities, mostly of Caribbean and North African origins. It also counts Fleur Pellerin, a 38-year-old newcomer who was born in Korea and adopted by a French family when she was six months old," adds France24.
France's first black cabinet minister was Rama Yade, the charismatic French Senegalese human rights lawyer. Rade was appointed by former President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007. The former human rights minister became the one of the major players behind the United Nations' historic gay rights declaration of 2008. And in 2006: Harry Roselmack was promoted to presenter on TF1, making history as the first non-white person to lead a mainstream, prime-time television news show in France.