President Nicolas Sarkozy named a radically-revamped Cabinet today, with humanitarian crusader Bernard Kouchner as France's new foreign minister.
Other notable appointments included former Prime Minister Alain Juppe in charge of issues dealing with the environment - an area that Mr Sarkozy says is a priority - and Jean-Louis Borloo as minister for the economy and labour.
The Cabinet, trimmed to 15 ministers, offered both youth and experience, and near-equal distribution among the sexes. Former Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie was named interior minister, and Sarkozy campaign adviser Rachita Dati will head the Justice Ministry.
The president also named long-time friend Brice Hortefeux to lead a new Ministry of Immigration, Integration and National Identity – another Sarkozy innovation – aimed at helping unite a country with rising ethnic diversity and tensions.
Perhaps the biggest surprise in the conservative-led government was left-wing Kouchner, a co-founder of the Nobel Prize-winning Doctors Without Borders medical charity.
Mr Sarkozy reached over the political divide also in selecting Herve Morin, of a rival centre-right party, as defence minister.
The posts were announced by presidential chief of staff Claude Gueant outside the presidential palace in Paris.