Korean-Born Fleur Pellerin Is France’s New Culture Minister

In a swift effort by French prime minister Manuel Valls to form a new government, Fleur Pellerin was named the country’s new culture minister on Wednesday. Pellerin follows Aurélie Filippetti, who effectively resigned from the post on Monday.

In an open letter to president François Hollande and prime minister Valls, Filippetti said that she did not wish to be considered for a future ministerial position (see “French Culture Minister Quits Over Funding Cuts“). The move came amid a general crisis within the French government, a second major reshuffle for the country in less than five months, following consistent criticism of Hollande’s regime.

In an article announcing the appointment, Le Monde‘s Aureliano Tonet called Pellerin “the anti-Filippetti.” Both women were born outside of France—Filippetti in Italy and Pellerin in Korea—and both have been characterized as staunch socialists. However, Pellerin has been consistently more progressive on issues related to technology and digitization, and is seen as representing a new generation of thought despite her and Filippetti’s similar age. In Pellerin’s most high-profile rebuff to her predecessor, she attended the opening of Google’s Cultural Institute in Paris last fall, an event Filippetti boycotted over concerns about data protection.

A former member of the finance ministry, advocating for small business and the digital economy, Pellerin is most immediately faced with finalizing the 2015 cultural budget. That budget has been in steady decline over recent years, which was a major factor in Filippetti’s resignation.

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