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9 Jan, 2024 13:41

Macron appoints openly gay 34-year-old as new French PM

Gabriel Attal is the youngest-ever French premier and is tipped to revitalize the presidency of Emmanuel Macron
Macron appoints openly gay 34-year-old as new French PM

Gabriel Attal has become the youngest-ever prime minister of France after President Emmanuel Macron appointed him to succeed Elisabeth Borne. The 34-year-old had previously served as education minister.

Attal was chosen to shake up the Macron presidency, which has struggled since losing its absolute majority in parliament in 2022. He is the country’s first openly gay premier, having entered a civil union with a French MEP.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Macron said he was counting on Attal’s energy and commitment to achieve the political goals of his presidency.

Borne, 62, stepped down with the rest of her government on Monday in the face of adverse public opinion. Last year, her cabinet pushed controversial pension reforms through parliament without a vote, triggering mass protests.

The French public also blamed her for failing to tackle inflation and illegal immigration. The latter issue caused a surge in popularity for the right-wing, pro-border-control National Rally party, led in parliament by Marine Le Pen.

Borne’s resignation letter hinted that she would have preferred to remain in office, stating that she “must” present her decision to quit to the president despite retaining a passion for the job, according to Associated France Presse.

The government reshuffle comes months before the Olympic Games are hosted by Paris and a European Parliament election takes place in June. Polls expect the Macron-led centrist forces to lose many of their current seats in the EU legislature.

The incumbent president won his second term two years ago, beating Le Pen in the second round, but could not capitalize on the success during the race for seats in parliament several months later.