PARIS News : As President Emmanuel Macron looks to make a fresh start for the remainder of his tenure in the face of mounting political pressure from the far right, France saw the appointment of its youngest prime minister in history and its first out homosexual one on Tuesday.

34-year-old Gabriel Attal gained notoriety as the government spokesperson before serving as the minister of education and finishing the departing administration’s poll as its most popular minister.

Elisabeth Borne, his predecessor, resigned on Monday in the wake of political unrest over an immigration law that increases the government’s authority to remove foreign nationals.

In the upcoming days, Macron and Attal will seek to designate a new cabinet, however some important ministers are anticipated to continue in their roles.

Macron wrote on X, “I know I can count on your energy and your commitment,” in a message to Attal. The president alluded to Attal reinstating the “spirit of 2017,” when Macron upended the political landscape and emerged as France’s youngest-ever president, riding a centrist, pro-business platform meant to revitalize one of the largest economies in the world.

“A symbol of confidence in young people” is how Attal describes his choice.

“I could read and hear it: the youngest president of the Republic in history appoints the youngest prime minister in history,” Attal remarked during the transfer ceremony. I want to interpret it solely as a movement and audacity sign. It is also, and maybe most importantly, a representation of youth confidence.”

One of Attal’s stated objectives is to make security a “absolute priority” and to advance the principles of “authority and respect of others.” Along with strengthening public services like the health and education systems, he also promised to advocate for “better controlling immigration.”

Since his election, 46-year-old Macron has moved to the right on security and immigration problems, particularly as her far-right opponent Marine Le Pen and her National Rally, which opposes immigration and Islam, have grown in political clout.

The president is not allowed to serve a third consecutive term by the constitution; his second term expires in 2027. Macron, a fervent advocate of European integration, is rumored to want his new cabinet to get ready for the EU elections in June, which are predicted to see a rise in the power of far-right, anti-EU populists.

Attal faced criticism from both the left and the right due to his lack of expertise, his upbringing in Paris, which was perceived as aloof from the struggles of those living in the countryside, and his allegiance to the president.

What can the French anticipate from this fourth prime minister and fifth cabinet in seven years (under Macron)? Le Pen wrote on X. Nothing,” urging people to select her party in the next European elections instead.

The head of The Republicans, Eric Ciotti, stated in a statement that “France urgently needs action: it needs a different approach.” He also said that the Republicans would continue to be a “responsible opposition” to the centrist government.

In a post on X, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the hard-left France Unbowed party’s founder, made fun of Attal for “returning to his position as spokesman.” The prime minister’s role is becoming obsolete. The only person who can rule his court is the president.”

In the French political system, the prime minister is in charge of carrying out domestic policy, particularly economic measures, and is chosen by the president. They are also answerable to the parliament. The president is in charge of the nation’s armed forces and has significant authority over foreign policy and European affairs.

Attal has served in several capacities during Marcon’s administration.

Former Socialist Party member Attal joined Macron’s newly formed political movement in 2016 and served as spokesperson from 2020 to 2022, gaining widespread recognition among the French public in that capacity. Before being appointed to the most important position in government—education minister—in July, he was named finance minister.

Attal swiftly declared that long robes would not be permitted in classrooms beginning with the September school year. He claimed that the mostly Muslim attire was a test of secularism in the classroom.

Along with this, he announced plans to test the use of uniforms in a few public schools in an attempt to shift the conversation away from clothing and curb bullying.

Attal recently discussed his experiences with bullying in middle school, including homophobic harassment, on the national television network TF1.

Similar to his predecessor, Attal will have to overcome the challenge posed by Macron’s centrists losing their majority in parliament last year, which compelled the administration to use political ploys and extraordinary constitutional authorities in order to pass bills.

The difficult discussions surrounding the immigration law and the contentious debate in parliament cast doubt on Borne’s government’s capacity to enact significant legislation.

Borne also had to deal with days of nationwide rioting when a teenage police shooting killed a man, as well as large-scale, frequently violent protests against a bill that would have raised the retirement age from 62 to 64.

In her farewell speech, Borne expressed her pride in the work completed over the previous 20 months, which she said had enabled her government “to pass the budget, the pension reform, the immigration law, and more than 50 other texts designed to meet the challenges faced by our country.”

Championing the immigration measure, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin declared he was prepared to stay at the head of the nation’s police forces, particularly with the enormous security challenges surrounding the upcoming Paris Olympics in less than 200 days.


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