France | Gabriel Attal appointed Prime Minister, youngest in the history of the Republic

(Paris) Appointed prime minister on Tuesday, Gabriel Attal becomes at 34 the youngest head of government in the history of the Republic, a spectacular rise for the man who has become the most popular of the Macronists in recent weeks.

“Flawless”, “good student”, “the best incarnation of the Macronist DNA”: the phenomenon Attal, already the youngest member of the government in 2017, then the youngest Minister of National Education, finally imposed himself to succeed to Élisabeth Borne in Matignon.

Did Emmanuel Macron follow public opinion? Gabriel Attal, who makes no secret of his homosexuality, had become the most popular figure in the government and the majority, convincing one in two French people, while more than a third of them demanded his appointment to Matignon in a recent study.

Three years younger than Laurent Fabius when François Mitterrand appointed him prime minister forty years ago, can Mr. Attal hope for a form of state of grace?

As he approaches the middle of a hitherto stuck five-year term, he will have to thwart the proverbial curse of Matignon and deal with the only relative majority of Macronists in the Assembly.

Coming from the Strauss-Kahnian movement, this “spiritual child of Marisol Touraine” had passed through the office of the Minister of Health of François Hollande, before following Emmanuel Macron at the end of the 2017 campaign.

“A bone for Gabriel to gnaw”

After the victory, this son of a film producer, who attended the elite Alsatian School in Paris, was elected deputy in a right-wing stronghold in Hauts-de-Seine.

Enough to enter the government, but through the back door: in charge of the modest State Secretariat for Youth, he stood out for his “capacity for work” and his “political sense”, as much as for his assumed ambition. “If I had forbidden myself things, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today,” he readily admitted.

In July 2020, when he arrived in Matignon, the new Prime Minister Jean Castex asked: “Have we found an additional bone to gnaw on for young Gabriel? »

To cut his teeth, the youngest finally inherits the government spokesperson.

From television sets to press conferences, Gabriel Attal reveals himself in this after-sales service exercise, marked by the COVID-19 crisis, even if his confidence sometimes betrays him.

The fact remains that he stands out as one of the rare members of the government to make a name for himself in public opinion.

At the heart of power, the couple formed with Stéphane Séjourné, today head of the Renaissance presidential party, then captured the attention of the press.

Ban on the abaya

After his re-election, Emmanuel Macron offered him the Budget, where his media ease allowed him to be one of the rare ministers sent to the front line to defend the unpopular pension reform.

The new reward is not long in coming: the prestigious Ministry of National Education, from July 2023.

“Shock of knowledge”, “school of rights and duties”, position in favor of the uniform, 8 p.m. news to announce the ban on the abaya at school, the omnipresent minister goes to the forehead.

“Beware of the boomerang,” tempered a majority executive in September, worried about classes without teachers.

Gabriel Attal prefers to saturate the media space: in October, during a speech for National Teachers’ Day in Paris, French and European flags are displayed in the background: “a scenography worthy of a prime minister or a a president,” some smile.

The announcement of the return of repeating a year or the establishment of level groups also fuels criticism of a school which adorns itself with a sepia filter. Alas: these nods to elderly populations are above all considered politically clever, in line with the “rearmament” advocated by Emmanuel Macron.

A ministerial advisor was surprised a few weeks ago by the excitement surrounding this “apparatchik” who “never worked in the private sector”, readily mocked, including by his own people, for his “slap-headed side of the best in class “.

His biography mentions, after his degree from Sciences Po, a one-year experience at the Villa Medici in Rome and a brief activity as a self-employed consultant in 2017.

Coming from the PS, Gabriel Attal takes particular care not to part with the “central space”.

“He seems rather to be following Macron’s path to the right,” a ministerial advisor grumbled at the end of the year.

Not enough, in any case, to appear as a foil for the left wing of the macronie or the partners of the MoDem, François Bayrou in the lead, who were worried about the persistent rumor of an appointment to Matignon of Sébastien Lecornu, a ex-LR still suspected of maintaining connections with the “old world”. A world that Gabriel Attal almost never knew.


Leave a Comment