Madame La Ministre

Noëlle Lenoir has made a habit of jumping gender barriers. Now she's bridging political divides as well. Despite links with Socialist leaders dating back to the late President François Mitterrand, the leftist Lenoir was named France's Minister of European Affairs last week by new conservative Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin. The nomination of Lenoir surprised many on both ends of the political spectrum. But her appointment was described by some observers as proof of Raffarin's determination to assemble a government attentive to — and comprising — all segments of French social and political life. "I think it not only reflects a new,...

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