Gabriel Attal becomes France’s youngest Prime Minister

Gabriel Attal

Gabriel Attal

French President Emmanuel Macron named 34-year-old Education Minister Gabriel Attal as his new prime minister on Tuesday, seeking to breathe new life into his second mandate ahead of European parliament elections.

Attal becomes the youngest and first openly gay prime minister in French history.

His nomination will not necessarily lead to any major political shift, but signals a desire by Macron to move beyond last year’s unpopular pension and immigration reforms and improve his centrist party’s chances in the June EU ballot.

“Dear @GabrielAttal, I know I can count on your energy and your commitment to implement the project of revitalisation and regeneration that I announced,” Macron wrote on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

Shorn of a working majority in parliament, Macron has battled to push through a second-term reform agenda that has drifted to the right as he seeks to shore up support amongst conservative voters to counter the growing popularity of the far right.

The president’s ruling party trails far-right leader Marine Le Pen’s party by around eight to ten percentage points in opinion polls.

Macron, 46, and Attal have a combined age just below that of Joe Biden, who is running for a second term in this year’s U.S. presidential election.

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