At 34, Gabriel Attal becomes the youngest French prime minister

(Paris) President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday appointed Gabriel Attal, 34, to Matignon, who becomes the youngest prime minister in the history of the Republic and also the first openly homosexual.

The head of state charged him “with forming a government”, according to a press release from the Élysée.

Shortly after, on X, the president said he was counting on the “energy” of Gabriel Attal to implement his “rearmament and regeneration project” for the country.

The young and popular Minister of National Education will succeed Élisabeth Borne, forced to resign on Monday after twenty months at the head of government.

Shortly before this announcement, he spoke again in a videoconference meeting with school leaders. “School is the most powerful weapon we have to change society” and “whatever the future developments, this conviction and this cause will never cease to inhabit me,” he said. said in conclusion.

The Matignon court was preparing for a transfer of power, between testing microphones and rehearsals with the Republican Guard.

The Élysée was slow to confirm this appointment, initially planned for Monday, fueling much speculation.

Was there internal resistance – notably from ministers Gérald Darmanin and Bruno Le Maire, vigorously denied by those concerned? Or even the reluctance of MoDem allies? Or was this delay due to the difficulty of finding balance within the new government team?

Figured among the French’s favorite political figures since his appointment less than six months ago to the Ministry of National Education, Gabriel Attal’s mission would be to offer Emmanuel Macron the momentum that his second five-year term never found.

His first task will be to form a new government under the sign of “rearmament” praised by the Head of State during his New Year’s greetings: “industrial, economic, European rearmament”, but also “civic”, particularly around vast school project that Gabriel Attal has carried out since the summer by initiating numerous major reforms.


He “embodies a momentum, a dynamic, a boldness that we surely need,” summarizes a majority executive.

For constitutionalist Benjamin Morel, Gabriel Attal is the sign of a “very offensive strategy with a view to the European elections” in June, where the far right is expected to win in France.

Emmanuel Macron greeted his young minister on December 20 on France 5 as a political leader who “shares (his) struggles from the beginning” and who has “the energy, the courage” to “carry out the reforms” to come, or even, like an heir, “continue the fight”.

It remains to be seen whether the reshuffle will be significant. Several close to the president are calling for a tightening of the government team which currently has 39 members.

In the meantime, the Minister of Transport Clément Beaune – given the departure – was on deck early in the morning to manage the road chaos in Île-de-France after unforeseen nighttime snowfall. That of the Ecological Transition Christophe Béchu was expected in Pas-de-Calais affected by the floods. Proof according to an Elysian source of the “continuity of the State”.

” Exceeding ”

But Macron’s second five-year term is mired in difficulties: without a majority in the Assembly since 2022, faced with the rise of the National Rally, the president is struggling to breathe life into his mandate.

The painful adoption of the unpopular pension reform, and more recently of an immigration law supported by the far right which divided the presidential majority, have also left their mark.

The appointment of Gabriel Attal, an early Macronist, offers guarantees to those in favor of “overcoming” the traditional right-left divide.

But it “will not solve the problem of the majority” nor that of the “main milestone of the mandate”, underlines political scientist Bruno Cauvery even if the young minister can bring to mind the “Macron of the start, a code breaker”.

His name rose to the top of the list on Monday for Matignon while two favorites, faithful Macronists, held the rope until then: the discreet Minister of the Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu, 37, from the right, and the former Minister of the Agriculture, left for the private sector Julien Denormandie, 43 years old.

His youth and his recent appointment to National Education, where he launched vast projects to be implemented, were cited to justify his promotion.

Entering through the back door at the Youth Secretariat, Gabriel Attal experienced a meteoric rise: government spokesperson, Minister of the Budget, he inherited the National Education in July, where he banned the abaya at school in name of “secularism” and says he is ready to experiment with wearing a uniform.

Before knowing the next tenant of Matignon, the left was unanimous on Tuesday in demanding a vote of confidence from Parliament “as in all democracies”, even if the socialists and communists did not brandish, like the Insoumis, the threat of a motion of censure.


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