By Milcah Tanimu
In a move aimed at injecting new momentum into his presidency, French leader Emmanuel Macron has selected Gabriel Attal as the country’s prime minister. At 34, Attal becomes France’s youngest head of government and the first openly gay individual to hold the position.
The decision followed the resignation of Elisabeth Borne, 62, who stepped down after less than two years in office. Macron’s reshuffling of his cabinet is seen as crucial ahead of the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris and European Parliament elections, where his centrist forces face a challenge from the far-right under Marine Le Pen.
Attal, who previously served in the politically crucial education ministry, emphasized the symbolic nature of his appointment during an official ceremony at the prime minister’s residence in Paris. He stated, “France will never be synonymous with decline, France will be synonymous with transformation, France will be synonymous with audacity.”
The shift in leadership is expected to bring a change of style, with Attal known for his popularity and energetic approach. Macron expressed his confidence in Attal’s ability to revive the spirit of bold change that characterized his initial presidential victory in 2017.
While Attal’s appointment had been anticipated, some observers caution that youth alone does not constitute a comprehensive program. There are also speculations about Attal’s potential aspirations for the 2027 presidential election.
As Attal assumes office, he faces the task of navigating challenges such as protests against pension reforms, loss of parliamentary majority, and controversies over immigration legislation. The reshuffle is viewed as a strategic move to rejuvenate Macron’s presidency and counter potential challenges in the upcoming European elections.