As part of a recent government reshuffle in France, Audrey Azoulay, a former culture advisor to French President François Hollande and former director of the National Center of Cinematography, was appointed as France’s Minister of Culture and Communication, replacing Fleur Pellerin.
Born in Morocco, Audrey Azoulay is the daughter of André Azoulay, an advisor to King Mohamed VI and before him to king Hassan II, and consequently her appointment did not go unnoticed in North Africa.
According to the French-language website Mondafrique, which posts news and analyses on the Maghreb and Africa, several Algerian officials expressed displeasure at her appointment, including Sa’id Bouteflika, a brother and advisor to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who even complained about it to an advisor of the French President. The site estimated that the source of the displeasure was an Algerian concern about the growing influence of Moroccan figures in the French media and political arena. Another factor, the site hinted, is Morocco’s good reputation in terms of its tolerance towards Jews, which too is a source of annoyance for Algeria.
The francophone Moroccan website Le360 likewise commented on the Algerian objections to Azoulay’s appointment, stating that they had “antisemitic overtones,” and that they stemmed from Algeria’s hostility towards Morocco and towards its “socialist president” Hollande. Like Mondafrique, this site estimated that Algeria was concerned about Morocco’s influence over France, especially since Algerian President Bouteflika believed that Hollande “belonged” to him.
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