Gabriel Attal appointed France's youngest Prime Minister
French President Emmanuel Macron appointed 34-year-old Education Minister Gabriel Attal as the new prime minister on Tuesday, in a strategic move to rejuvenate his administration ahead of the European Parliament elections.
This appointment marks Macron's effort to revitalize his second term, especially as his party trails about eight to ten points behind Marine Le Pen's far-right party in opinion polls.
While Attal's appointment doesn't signal a major political shift, it does reflect Macron's intent to distance his administration from last year's controversial pension and immigration reforms. His aim is to improve the standing of his centrist party in the upcoming EU elections.
Gabriel Attal, a key Macron ally, gained prominence as a government spokesman during the COVID-19 pandemic. He succeeds Elisabeth Borne as prime minister. His popularity, evident in recent opinion polls, comes from his effective communication skills in radio appearances and parliamentary engagements.
President Macron has expressed his confidence in Attal, entrusting him with a project of revitalization and regeneration. Attal is making history as France's youngest prime minister and the first openly gay person to hold the position. Intriguingly, the combined age of Attal and Macron is just below that of U.S. President Joe Biden, who is seeking re-election.
Macron faces challenges with a more volatile parliament after losing his absolute majority post-re-election in 2022. Opposition figures like Jordan Bardella of Le Pen's National Rally and Socialist Party leader Olivier Faure have expressed skepticism about the leadership change. They anticipate no significant shift from the existing policies. However, Patrick Vignal of Macron's Renaissance party compares Attal to Macron during his early presidency, noting his clarity and authoritative presence.
As France's youngest prime minister, Gabriel Attal stands out in French politics. His rise to prominence, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, and his effective handling of the Education Ministry have earned him widespread recognition.