Cope assumes top PR role in new French government

PARIS: France's newly appointed government, headed by Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, has named Jean-Francois Cope as its chief media spokesman and top PR official.

PARIS: France's newly appointed government, headed by Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, has named Jean-Francois Cope as its chief media spokesman and top PR official.

Cope took on the position of Secretary of State in charge of relations with Parliament last week, following President Jacques Chirac's May 5 reelection to a five-year term as French head of state, giving far-right contender Jean-Marie Le Pen a drubbing.

The government spokesman also holds the title of Mayor of Meaux in France, and is considered a close Gaullist aide of Chirac.

Speculation suggests Cope was also hoping for the role of Minister of the Budget in the new government.

In his communications role, he will hold responsibility for all official statements to be made by the government and Raffarin. He is also understood to be providing ad hoc communications advice to President Chirac.

Prime Minister Raffarin is expected to place added emphasis on communications within the government due to his background in marcomms and PR.

Prior to his career in politics, Raffarin worked as director of marketing for French coffee brand Cafes Jacques Vabre.

He also worked for a number of years at French PR agency Bernard Krief Consulting, which is known for its political lobbying work and communications strategies among a range of PR offerings.

Raffarin is widely speculated to have become an unofficial image counselor to Chirac in recent years, and he is also believed to have helped provide behind-the-scenes counsel for the President's recent winning campaign.

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