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GreekReporter.comEuropeGabriel Attal Becomes France's Youngest Prime Minister

Gabriel Attal Becomes France’s Youngest Prime Minister

Gabriel Attal France
Attal became a household name as a government spokesman during the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit: Selbymay, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

Gabriel Attal became France’s youngest prime minister at 34 and the first openly gay leader of the government on Tuesday.

In just over a decade, Attal has risen from a work experience recruit in the health ministry to the second-highest office of state in France.

The appointment of Attal by Emmanuel Macron signals a desire by the French President to move beyond divisive reforms and improve his centrist party’s chances in European Parliament elections in June, Reuters reports.

“Dear @GabrielAttal, I know I can count on your energy and your commitment to implement the project of revitalization and regeneration that I announced,” 46-year-old Macron wrote on social media after appointing Attal, a close ally, former minister, and government spokesman.

“I’m well aware of the context in which I take on this job,” Attal said.

“Too many French doubt our country, doubt themselves or our future. I think in particular of the middle class…who get up every morning to go to work…and sometimes can’t make ends meet,” he said, promising to work to “control our destiny and free up France’s potential.”

“The youngest president in [France’s] history is appointing the youngest prime minister in [France’s] history. I want to see it as a symbol of audacity,” said Attal.

Attal has been polled as one of France’s most popular politicians

Attal has polled as one of France‘s most popular politicians in recent months. A Macron loyalist, he became a household name as a government spokesman during the COVID pandemic and earned a reputation as a smooth communicator.

He replaces Elisabeth Borne, 62, only the second woman to hold the prime minister role in France. A dutiful and hard-working technocrat, her year and a half in office was marked by months of protests over the pension overhaul and riots over the police shooting of a teenager of north African descent.

In the early years of Emmanuel Macron’s presidency, Attal was one of a group of well-educated young men from comfortable backgrounds picked to advise and support the equally young French leader.

At 29, he was named secretary of state at the education ministry, becoming the youngest member of government under the Fifth Republic, which came into being in October 1958.

He has held several high-profile political jobs, including the head of LREM, government spokesperson, public accounts minister, and education minister. He was elected to the Assemblée National in June last year.

Attal is in a civil partnership with Stéphane Séjourné, 38, an MEP and secretary general of the governing party, now named Renaissance, who was one of Macron’s political advisers until 2021.

In the past decade, Attal’s politics appears to have shifted from the center-left to center-right.

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