France appoints first openly gay Prime Minister
PARIS (WISH) — France has named its first openly gay Prime Minister.
At the age of 34, Gabriel Attal is also the country’s youngest ever appointed to the role, as President Emmanuel Macron looks to shake up the rest of his term amid growing political pressure from France’s far right.
Attal succeeds Elisabeth Borne, who resigned her position on Monday following the fallout over an immigration law that increased the government’s ability to deport foreigners.
During the handover ceremony, Attal stated his goals as Prime Minister are to make national security an “absolute priority,” promotion of “authority and respect of others,” while pushing for standards to “better control immigration.”
Attal has served as the country’s Minister of Education since last July. National polls showed Attal as the government’s most popular minister.
Attal oversaw the implementation of a ban on the Muslim abaya, a long robe worn by practitioners of the faith, in schools.
Before that, Attal was the Macron government’s spokesperson from 2020 to 2022.
Critics from both sides of the political spectrum have criticized Attal’s lack of experience and regard his Parisian upbringing as making him out of touch with provincial voters.
Macron’s far-right rival Marine Le Pen, Deputy of the French National Assembly and Parliamentary Party Leader of the anti-immigration National Rally spoke out against Attal’s appointment.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, founder of the far-left France Unbowed party, said Attal is “returning to his position as a spokesman. The function of prime minister is disappearing. The presidential monarch alone rules his court.”
Posting on X, Le Pen said, “What can the French expect from this 4th prime minister and 5th government in 7 years (under Macron)? Nothing.”
Attal faces the same obstacles and issues as his predecessor. Macron’s government no longer has a majority, leading to political maneuvering and the use of special constitutional powers to pass laws.