Today newspapers will devote more column inches to the appointment of Ségolène Royal in the new French cabinet than to any other aspect of the government reshuffle. Sadly for her, it won’t be because, in her new role as France’s the new Ecology Minister, she has espoused strong green principles.
Instead, it will all be due to her relationship with president François Hollande.
Ms Royal is his former partner and the mother of his four children. She was also the Socialist party’s candidate in the 2007 presidential election, but lost to Nicolas Sarkozy.
Her appointment is one of several moves to restore public confidence in the Socialist government, following some humiliating defeats for the party in local elections at the weekend.
It is by far the most high profile.
Officially, Ms Royal has been appointed by new centrist prime minister Manuel Valls. However, president Hollande is understood to have taken a keen interest in the reshuffle, so is certain to have endorsed the move.
Ms Royal has been openly critical of her former partner since the pair separated under the public gaze in 2007. Plus, when he came to power, she was blackballed from being part of his first government by his then girlfriend, Valérie Trierweiler. Her appointment now puts a line firmly under that relationship, which ended in January.
Whether Ms Royal’s appointment is enough to re-inject much interest in the government is open to question. One thing is for sure, though: her appointment will help sell a few newspapers today.