Emmanuel Macron, the French President, has recently appointed Gabriel Attal, a 34-year-old Education Minister, as the country’s newest prime minister. This strategic move, aimed at rejuvenating Macron’s second term, comes in anticipation of the upcoming European Parliament elections. While not expected to bring about a significant political shift, the appointment signals Macron’s commitment to moving past the previous year’s unpopular pension and immigration reforms and enhancing his centrist party’s prospects in the June EU ballot.
Surpassing Elisabeth Borne, the outgoing Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal, a familiar name as the government spokesman during the Covid pandemic, is set to become France’s youngest prime minister and the first openly gay individual to hold this position. Despite the absence of immediate official confirmation, various media outlets, including RTL radio and BFM TV, have widely reported this expected transition.
Attal, renowned as one of the nation’s most popular politicians in recent opinion polls, is recognized for his adeptness as a minister, showcasing ease in radio appearances and parliamentary sessions. Drawing parallels to Macron’s initial popularity in 2017, MP Patrick Vignal emphasized Attal’s clarity and authority, stating, “Gabriel Attal is a bit like the Macron of 2017.”
The Macron-Attal duo, with a combined age just below that of US President Joe Biden, is seen by some as a potential catalyst for breathing new life into the government. Macron has faced challenges in a more turbulent parliament since losing his absolute majority shortly after his 2022 reelection. According to pollster Jean-Daniel Levy from Harris Interactive, the Macron-Attal partnership has the potential to bring about a revitalization of the government.
However, not everyone shares this optimistic view. Opposition leaders, including Socialist Party leader Olivier Faure, express skepticism about significant policy changes, emphasizing that regardless of the prime minister’s identity, they expect continuity in governmental decisions led by Macron himself.
Gabriel Attal’s appointment as France’s youngest and first openly gay prime minister marks a notable moment in the country’s political landscape. As Macron strives to navigate challenges and boost his party’s standing, the impact of this change remains to be seen, with both hopeful prospects and skeptical voices contributing to the ongoing political discourse.