For the 246th time France has chosen a man as president of the National Assembly

For the 246th time France has chosen a man as president of the National Assembly
Photo: AFP
The new president of France's National Assembly has been named and like the 245 predecessors... it's a man.
The position, which has only ever been held by a man, has gone to François de Rugy, 43, after he was chosen by new president Emmanuel Macron's La Republique en Marche (REM) party on Tuesday, ahead of two female MPs also up for the prestigious role. 
De Rugy, an MP for a constituency in the Loire-Atlantique department secured 153 votes from REM MPs, ahead of two female contenders for the role, Brigitte Bourguignon who got 54 votes, and Sophie Errante, who secured 59 votes.
De Rugy, a former candidate in the Socialist party primary also beat another male candidate, Philippe Folliot from the centre-right Union of Democrats and Independents (UDI) party to the role. 
He will be responsible for managing parliamentary debates, including restoring order when things get too rowdy, and for organising the parliamentary schedule. The role also comes with a certain amount of political caché. 
But for many people the fact that the new National Assembly president is a man will be a disappointment although hardly a surprise, given that the 245 before him were all male too, including the first Jean Sylvain Bailly, who ended up being guillotined in 1793.
Throughout his campaign and early days of leadership, Macron has made much of the fact that he wanted to place female politicians in important government roles, including even that of prime minister. 
Instead that role went to Edouard Philippe and now another sought after position has gone to a man. 
Naturally this has been met with some anger from feminists with the president of a French feminist organisation taking to Twitter to show her annoyance, who wrote “Lost again”, referring to the fact that once again the role didn't go to a woman. 
The role of President of the National Assembly is considered crucial in French politics and whoever holds it is dubbed the “fourth figure of the Republic” after the President, the Prime Minister and the President of the Senate.
With De Rugy in the role, it means all four roles ( as well as many other key posts in French politics, such as president of the constitutional council) are held by men.
The presidents of all groups in the new National Assembly are also all men.

Photo: AFP 

But it's not all doom and gloom at the National Assembly from a feminist perspective, with a record number of women in the National Assembly at some 223 female MPs, including of course Marine Le Pen, who won a seat at the fifth time of trying.
Macron has also ensured there is parity in his government.
After the resent reshuffle there are 15 men and 15 women in the Macron's cabinet.


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