On December 20, 2023, in Paris, France, French Education Minister Gabriel Attal leads the weekly cabinet meeting in the presidential Elysee Palace. On January 9, 2024, Attal was named prime minister. Following Elisabeth Borne’s resignation as prime minister, Emmanuel Macron named Gabriel Attal the youngest prime minister in French history. In addition, Attal is the first openly homosexual person to hold the position, making his appointment a historic first in a number of ways. He and French member of the European Parliament Stéphane Sejourné are in a civil partnership.

Significance of the appointment

In the last 18 months, Macron’s personal popularity has also declined, as members of his own centrist Renaissance party have fiercely resisted an immigration measure he intended to enact, and widespread protests have broken out over his plans to restructure pensions. Politico’s survey of surveys indicates that the French President has a 30% approval rating. In an attempt to revitalize his second term, President Emmanuel Macron appointed Gabriel Attal as France’s youngest prime minister on Tuesday. Attal pledged to be audacious and move quickly to assist the middle class in coping with the growing cost of living. With the selection of Attal, 34, a well-liked and media-savvy rising star in French politics, Macron appears to be aiming to go past contentious changes and boost his centrist party’s prospects in June’s elections for the European Parliament.

Immediate challenges and priorities

The public’s general dissatisfaction with rising living expenses and the controversial pension reform last year has negatively impacted Macron’s standing and prospects in the EU election, where his party is well behind Marine Le Pen’s far-right. In recent months, surveys have shown Attal to be among the most well-liked politicians in France. A supporter of Macron, he gained notoriety as the government’s spokesperson during the COVID-19 outbreak and was seen as a polished speaker. When it comes to combined age, Macron, 46, and Attal are somewhat younger than Joe Biden, who is vying for a second term in this year’s US presidential election. “The youngest prime minister in French history is being appointed by the youngest president in French history.” Attal, the nation’s first out homosexual prime minister, stated, “I want to see it as a symbol of audacity.”

Potential impacts on domestic and international affairs

Elisabeth Borne, 62, who was just the second woman to serve as prime minister of France, is replaced by Attal. Her year and a half in office was characterized by months of protests over the pension change and rioting over the police shooting of a teenager of North African heritage. She was a dedicated and hardworking technocrat. It could take Macron and Attal a few days to announce the new administration. According to an Elysee staffer, this week’s Wednesday cabinet meeting is unlikely to happen. Macron, who was reelected in 2022 but has found it difficult to govern in the more tumultuous legislature, has hinted that change was needed in recent weeks. Some voters and opponents, on the other hand, expressed skepticism, arguing that little would change because Macron makes the majority of the decisions. “With this fifth administration in seven years and this fourth prime minister, what can the French expect? Nothing,” Le Pen said. “Young” and “fits nicely into the frame,” Attal is. What else does the reorganization alter for us, though? Not much, personally,” Parisian Sophie Varillon remarked.

Background of the new Prime Minister

When Attal was France’s education minister, he introduced a contentious ban on abayas in schools and new performance measures to gauge students’ academic achievement. His appointment was made some months ahead of the June elections for the European Parliament. The French lawmaker with the greatest approval rating is Attal. Over the past ten years, he has quickly risen through the ranks of French politics, having begun as a little-known assistant in the health ministry. The reorganization is probably going to make it more competitive for Macron’s supporters to unseat him in the 2027 presidential election. Attal, former prime minister Edouard Philippe, interior minister Gerard Darmanin, and finance minister Bruno Le Maire are all considered as possible contenders. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, Attal will face the same difficulties as his predecessor did. This includes a rising right that is expected to gain ground in the June elections for the European Parliament, as well as the French parliament’s minority that makes Macron’s program challenging to implement. Macron’s signature immigration plan, which was significantly strengthened in recent days amid talks to win over the conservative Les Républicains party, was approved by the National Assembly. Additionally, the far-right National Rally supported its approval, which has led to charges that centrists are giving in to xenophobia.