Hollande (left) and Ayrault
France's newly elected President Hollande and newly named Prime Minister Ayrault leave after a traditional ceremony at Paris' city hall. Reuters

Jean-Marc Ayrault, France’s new prime minister has named his cabinet, just one day after François Hollande became the country’s first Socialist president in 17 years.

Among the most prominent names in the new slate of top officials is former prime minister, Laurent Fabius, who becomes the new foreign minister, while Pierre Moscovici, who served as Hollande’s chief campaign adviser, becomes finance minister.

Fabius is very well known in France and has had a lengthy political career. He has, however, been a long-time critic of Hollande.

Moscovici, a former supporter of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was also a minister under prime minister Lionel Jospin from 1997 to 2002.

Interestingly, Martine Aubry, the leader of the Socialist party rejected an offer to head a super ministry,” saying she saw no point in joining the government if she could not be prime minister. She had earlier challenged Hollande for the presidential candidacy.

Aubry noted however that she will stay on as the Socialist Party leader.

I worked flat out for Francois Hollande's victory, and I'll do it again in the fight for the parliamentary elections, she said.

Jean-Yves Le Drian was awarded the defense portfolio; Stephane Le Foll will lead the agriculture ministry; while Manuel Valls becomes interior minister, and Michel Sapin is the new labor minister.

While Hollande promised to fill half the cabinet jobs with women, very few females were actually named to senior positions.
Among the women in the cabinet: Christiane Taubira, an MP from French Guiana, will become the justice minister; and Nicole Bricq will be ecology minister. (Taubira reportedly turned down an offer to join Nicolas Sarkozy’s cabinet back in 2007.)

Marisol Touraine will lead the social affairs ministry, Aurelie Filippetti was named culture minister and Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, of Moroccan descent, was given the women's rights portfolio.

According to French media, Ayrault huddled with Hollande for four hours discussing the composition of the new cabinet.