Gabriel Attal becomes France’s youngest prime minister as Macron seeks reset

French President Emmanuel Macron announced the appointment of 34-year-old Education Minister Gabriel Attal as the new prime minister on Tuesday, aiming to inject fresh momentum into his second term in anticipation of the upcoming European Parliament elections.

Attal assumes the role as the youngest and the first openly gay prime minister in French history.

While this nomination may not necessarily trigger a major political shift, it underscores Macron’s intention to move beyond last year’s unpopular pension and immigration reforms, focusing on improving his centrist party’s prospects in the June EU ballot.

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

Struggling with a diminished majority in parliament, Macron has faced challenges advancing a second-term reform agenda that has leaned toward the right. This shift aims to consolidate support among conservative voters to counter the rising popularity of the far right.

Currently, Macron’s ruling party lags behind far-right leader Marine Le Pen’s party by approximately eight to ten percentage points in opinion polls.

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

Attal has consistently ranked among France’s most popular politicians in recent months. As a Macron loyalist, he gained prominence in French politics as the government spokesman during the COVID pandemic, earning a reputation as a proficient communicator.