Gabriel Attal becomes the youngest French Prime Minister in modern history

PARIS, FRANCE – DECEMBER 20: French Minister of Education Gabriel Attal during the weekly cabinet meeting at the presidential Elysee Palace on December 20, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Christian Liewig – Corbis/Getty Images)

Christian Liewig – Corbis | Corbis News | Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron named Gabriel Attal as the country’s new prime minister on Tuesday as he seeks to chart a new course ahead of this summer’s European Union elections.

At 34, Attal, the current education minister, will become the youngest person to hold France’s second highest office. The news was announced by BFM TV and later posted on social media Macron’s political party.

“I know I can count on your energy and your commitment to implement the rearmament and regeneration project I announced.

It follows the apparently reluctant resignation on Monday afternoon of Elisabeth Borne, who said in a letter that she had been informed it was Macron’s wish. Borne said it was “more necessary than ever to continue the reforms” the government is making.

In France, the Prime Minister heads the government and is appointed by the President but cannot be directly dismissed.

Macron and Borne faced a turbulent 2023, with the government narrowly avoiding being toppled due to a backlash from lawmakers and the public against its move to raise the retirement age.

The government suffered another blow in December when the initial draft of the immigration bill, which was seen as Macron’s signature policy, was rejected. It finally passed after being redesigned to be tougher.

Macron’s personal disapproval rating is currently at 68%, according to a Politico polling summary.

Ensemble, a liberal coalition that includes Macron’s Renaissance party, is trailing both the far-right National Assembly and the left-wing New Ecological and Social People’s Union.

Attal, a close ally of Macron, is the most popular government minister according to polls. He will become France’s first openly gay prime minister.

“I know I can count on your energy and your commitment to implement the rearmament and regeneration project I announced,” Macron said on X, formerly Twitter, to Attala.

The political move comes ahead of June’s European Parliament elections, in which Renaissance is trying to avoid an embarrassing blow given its string of controversial political moves.

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