Chrysoula Zacharopoulou survives Macron's cabinet reshuffle despite rape allegation

Chrysoula Zacharopoulou

Today, French President Emmanuel Macron carried out a broad reshuffle in order to give new life to his government, which no longer has an absolute majority in the National Assembly.

Macron's second government announced today has a total of 41 ministers and deputy ministers - 21 men and 20 women - without Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne.

The ministers of Interior, Foreign Affairs, Finance and Education remain unchanged in their posts.

The French president appointed his former health minister, Olivier Véran, as the new government spokesman. He is a technocrat who rose to public prominence as health minister during the Covid-19 pandemic and guided the country through most of the health crisis.

Zacharopoulou, of Greek origin, remains Deputy Minister of Development, Francophone and International Cooperation despite the fact that three complaints were recently filed against her for rape while practicing her profession as a gynecologist.

One complaint was lodged May 25 and the investigation opened two days later, the prosecutors said. The second complaint was filed on June 16.

Greece-born Zacharopoulou, 46, joined the government of Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne in May, having been a member of the European Parliament for the previous three years. She reports to Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna.

She gained prominence in 2015 by campaigning for greater public awareness of endometriosis together with actress Julie Gayet, who this year married former French president Francois Hollande.

Zacharopoulou was strongly involved in the UN’s COVAX coronavirus vaccine rollout effort, and has spoken out in favour of women’s reproductive rights.

These are not the first rape allegations to shadow Macron’s government and come at a time of political difficulty for the president after he failed to retain a majority in parliamentary elections.

Prosecutors investigated Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin over an allegation for rape filed in 2017. He denied any wrongdoing and prosecutors in January asked for the case to be dropped.

Solidarities minister Damien Abad was also the target of rape allegations in a controversy that erupted last month but French prosecutors have said they were not currently opening an investigation.

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