France awaiting a new prime minister

(Paris) France remained awaiting the appointment of a new prime minister on Tuesday, the day after the resignation of Élisabeth Borne after 20 months at the head of government.

The name of his successor must be announced by President Emmanuel Macron at the end of the morning, and negotiations to form the future government team continued.

The young and popular Minister of Education Gabriel Attal is the big favorite to enter Matignon and try to breathe new life into the second five-year term of the head of state.

While this appointment was initially hoped for on Monday evening, the delay fueled speculation about possible internal resistance – notably from government heavyweights Gérald Darmanin (Interior) and Bruno Le Maire (Economy), denied by those concerned.

Three years before the end of his mandate, Mr. Macron is looking for new momentum and finds himself in a delicate situation faced with the rise of the far right in the country and the absence of an absolute majority in The national assembly.

At the head of government since May 2022, Borne had managed to pass difficult laws, including a very unpopular pension reform last spring and a controversial immigration law in December. She overcame around thirty motions of censure.

The Head of State thanked her on X for her “exemplary” work in the “service of the Nation”. Mme Borne, 62, was the second woman to hold this position in French history.

One of the French’s favorite political figures and an early Macronist, Gabriel Attal, 34, would be, if appointed, the youngest prime minister of the Fifth Republic.

Among the other names mentioned are the Minister of the Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu, 37, a close friend of Emmanuel Macron from the right, and the former Minister of Agriculture Julien Denormandie, 43, another historic Macronist.

“Code breaker”

The choice of the new prime minister is far from neutral in maintaining the precarious balance of the presidential camp, undermined by divisions over the immigration law, adopted with the votes of the extreme right.

The mandate of the future head of government will be placed under the sign of “rearmament” praised by Mr. Macron during his New Year’s greetings: “industrial, economic, European rearmament”, but also “civic”, particularly around the vast construction site. the school that Gabriel Attal has carried since the summer.

For constitutionalist Benjamin Morel, the choice of this personality would symbolize a “very offensive strategy with a view to the European elections” in June, where the far right is expected to win in France.

Gabriel Attal embodies “youth, ambition, it evokes a little in the background the Macron of the departure, a code breaker”, according to political scientist Bruno Cautres, even if his appointment “will not solve the problem of the majority” nor that of the “main mandate cap”.

The head of state has faced growing discontent since his re-election in 2022.

After two mandates, Emmanuel Macron will not be able to run again in 2027 and a crucial issue will be to prevent the figurehead of the far right, Marine Le Pen, whom he defeated in the second round of the last two presidential elections, from succeed.

Coming from the left, Gabriel Attal was one of the first socialists to follow Mr. Macron when he created his party En Marche! in 2016, a springboard towards the Élysée.

Entering through the back door at the Youth Secretariat, his rise was meteoric: government spokesperson, Budget Minister, he inherited National Education in July.

At the head of this ministry, he has won over the elderly populations who constitute the heart of the Macronist electorate, with his positions in favor of the uniform or the ban on the abaya at school.

In France, the president traditionally sets the broad guidelines for the five-year term, while his prime minister, responsible for the day-to-day management of the government, generally pays the price in the event of turbulence. But Mr. Macron is regularly accused by his detractors of concentrating powers and micromanaging.

“The prime minister will be Emmanuel Macron,” left-wing European candidate Raphaël Glucksmann joked on public television.


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