France has a new Prime Minister – Gabriel Attal. He is the country’s youngest and first out gay Prime Minister.
The 34-year-old Education Minister has replaced Elisabeth Borne, who resigned on Monday (8 January). It follows turmoil over pension reforms and immigration legislation.
Attal, as per Reuters, is a close ally of President Emmanuel Macron and served as the government spokesperson during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recent polling has put Attal as one of France’s most popular politicians, again as per Reuters. He recently appeared on TV where he discussed his experience of homophobic bullying.
“Gabriel Attal I know I can count on your energy”
Mr. Attal joined Macron’s Renaissance party in 2016. After working as a spokesperson between 2020 and 2022, he served as a budget minister. He was then appointed Education Minister last July.
In his Education role, he announced a ban on long robes in schools, which are worn mainly by Muslims. The robes were said to be testing secularism in schools.
“I know I can count on your energy and your commitment to implement the rearmament and regeneration project that I announced,” Macron posted on X on Tuesday. He also referenced his 2017 rise to power when he said: “In fidelity to the spirit of 2017: surpassing and audacity. In the service of the Nation and the French.”
Macron and Attal will work together to name a new government over the next few days. Macron is seen to have gone towards the right following his 2017 win. Marine Le Pen, Macron’s far-right rival, and her party, National Rally, have been rising in influence and opinion polls.
As per Reuters, Olivier Faure, the leader of the Socialist Party has said: “It will just be the same policies.” Jordan Bardella of National Rally offered his view of Attal’s appointment. “Emmanuel Macron wants to cling to his popularity in opinion polls to alleviate the pain of an interminable end to his reign,” said the 28-year-old.