This time it’s the right one. Unknown to the general public, former cultural adviser to Bertrand Delanoë at the town hall of Paris, then to the President of the Republic, Rima Abdul-Malak had been approached several times to be Minister of Culture. This 44-year-old Franco-Lebanese close to the president succeeds this Friday to Roselyne Bachelot. And move from shadow to light.

Rima Abdul-Malak does not arrive in unfamiliar territory. On the contrary. This woman reputed to be very cash and demanding and who is said to know her files very well, was sometimes called “the second” Minister of Culture. A hard worker, she has been working for three years in close collaboration with the Head of State to whom she has opened many doors in the cultural sector. An environment she knows well and which had not looked favorably on the arrival of a banker at the Élysée. Her career is reminiscent of that of Audrey Azoulay, cultural adviser to François Hollande at the Élysée, before becoming a minister between 2016 and 2017.

A relationship of trust with Emmanuel Macron

Like Roselyne Bachelot, the new minister is a theater buff. She is also close to the world of music for having been responsible for the dissemination of the French music scene abroad for CulturesFrance, (formerly the French Institute). She also knows the Chedid family, originating like her from Lebanon where she was born in 1978, during the war. Rima Abdul-Malak arrived in France at the age of 10. A graduate of the Institute of Political Studies in Lyon, holder of a DESS from the Panthéon Sorbonne University, she began her career in the humanitarian sector and notably directed the association “Clowns sans frontières” which organizes shows for children in war zones.

Rima Abdul-Malak was 30 years old when she went into politics, joined the mayor of Paris and became cultural adviser to mayor Bertrand Delanoë before being appointed cultural attaché in New York, director of the visual arts and performing arts department. In 2019, she joined the Élysée where she quickly established a relationship of trust with Emmanuel Macron. She is in particular in the front row during the health crisis and it is she who orchestrates the implementation of the white year for the intermittents du spectacle. She would also have imposed Régine Hatchondo on the Center National du Livre. With the president, “they send each other poems by SMS” wrote L’Obs last year, adding that when the head of state goes on trips, she prepares “a selection of books” for him.

Among the files that await her as soon as she arrives on rue de Valois, the abolition of the audiovisual license fee and the culture pass, a file that she has been carrying from the start and which is still struggling to convince.