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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Myriam El Khomry récupère le sale travail


Myriam El Khomry picks up the dirty work

Translated Sunday 6 September 2015, by Rosalind Sanders

The secretary of state for towns replaces Francois Rebsamen in a key role, on in which her predecessors have failed to succeed since the beginning of this term.

There must be some disappointed members of the Socialist Party. Particularly those whose names had been circulating as possible replacements for François Rebsamen, the Minister for Work who recently resigned to return to the more comfortable position of Mayor of Dijon. Neither the Transport Minister Alain Vidalies, nor the leader of the Socialist Party Bruno Le Roux, nor the close friend of Martine Aubry Jean-Marc Germain, whose names were most frequently cited, will inherit the role. In the end it is Myriam El Khomri, who entered the government during the last reschuffle a year ago as secretary of state for towns, who yesterday moved in to Ministry of Work on rue de Grenelle.

There are no newcomers, as Patrick Kanner, a former minister for Myriam El Khomri, will take over her role. This means that the suggested temptation to bring forward the major reshuffle, which was planned for after the regional elections, to re-establish a majority has, in the end, been rejected. The crisis within the Europe Ecology- The Greens will have played a role here. It was important not to give the impression of taking advantage of divisions to bring in one or two ecologists. It was also important to keep in reserve the possibility of a political response to the defeat that is being predicted for the end of the year.

This reshuffle may be small, but it was still something of a surprise. At 37 years old, Myriam El Khomri is not considered to be an expert in the field over which she now presides. She came into politics in the wake of Bertrand Delanoe and Daniel Valliant, in the XVIIIe arrondissement in Paris, and is better known for her work on policies regarding towns and security, which led her all the way to the Council of Paris. Anne Hidalgo made her a pillar of her team, to the point where she did not hide her disappointment when Myriam El Khmori left the Town Hall for the government. She is difficult to place amongst the familiar faces of the Socialist Party, even if we now know that she is favoured by Francois Hollande and Manuel Valls. “The only coherent aspect of her career path is her attachment to working class neighbourhoods” remarks a Parisian member of parliament who claims to be “very surprised” by this nomination.

It is true that Myriam El Khomri will not be living in the shadow of her predecessor, who did not particularly shine in the role. However, there are many who wonder whether she will be able to measure up to this responsibility. As she is unknown to the public and lacking in experience of the negotiations that take place within her Ministry, some fear that she will not be strong enough to stand up to the Ministry of the Economy, or they see her nomination as simply a desire by Matignon or the Elysée Palace to have a more direct handle on employment and work. Her reputation as a ‘good student’ would certainly support this.

In any case, Myriam El Khomri will not remain unknown for long. She will now have to deal with the monthly discussion of the unemployment figures, which are far from declining. She may also have the responsibility of carrying out a new reform of the labour market, based on the coming report by the president of the social division of the Council of State, Jean-Denis Combrexelle, which is expected to advocate a strengthening of legal agreements with business and industry. She will also have to organise the social conference in October, the agenda for which has not yet been decided, and to implement the compte personnel d’activité, the new personal professional account, which the Executive wants.

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