France: Hollande cabinet – more black politicians & gender balance

Christiane Taubira., Incoming French Minister of Justice

In an unprecedented move in French politics, three black politicians, two of them women and all from France’s overseas departments in the Caribbean, joined President Francois Hollande’s cabinet as its held its first meeting Thursday.

In the most senior appointment, Christiane Taubira, from French Guiana, has been named minister of justice in the new Socialist government, becoming the first black woman to made a full minister.

Rama Yade, originally from Senegal, had risen to the level of junior minister in the previous Nicolas Sarkozy administration.

Taubira, 60, considered to be on the left of the Socialist Party, is the author of the 2001 “Taubira Law” which officially recognises the slave trade and slavery as crimes against humanity.

In 2002, Taubira, a divorced mother of four, was the first person from the French Caribbean, the first woman, and the first person of color to become a presidential candidate.

Two other ministers, both from Guadeloupe, which gave candidate Hollande his biggest margin of victory in the Caribbean, have been named ministers in the Hollande administration.

Victorin Lurel is the new minister in charge of overseas departments while George Pau-Langevin, for years the only black MP from mainland France in Parliament, representing the French capital, has been named junior minister for educational success.