Every change of the prime minister leaves a big impact on whichever country the changement was in, but for the first time in a while it seems that the new assigned prime minister of France left an impact not just in the country itself, but worldwide. Gabriel Attal was appointed on January 9th, 2024, six months after his appointment as Minister of National Education. He took the place of Elisabeth Borne and is now officially the Prime Minister of the French Republic, the head of government of the French Republic, and the leader of the Council of Ministers.
In France, the Prime Minister owns the second highest demand and holds the second highest office after the president of France. The prime minister is chosen by the president who is free to pick anyone; however, the National Assembly has the power to force the resignation of the government. Just recently, Gabriel Attal took his position as the prime minister of the French Republic, but like all other politicians, people have different opinions about him. Unlike all others, he is the first openly gay and the youngest prime minister ever of France.
Gabriel Attal’s sexual orientation and him being France’s youngest prime minister ever were the sole reasons why he got a lot of attention turned towards him, yet it remains open to discussion whether this attention will have a positive impact or not. The current president of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, had a strong interest in raising the government’s popularity. Even though his assignment came as a surprise for most, CNN stated that this was done wisely and how they thought hiring a homosexual man as prime minister is the perfect jumpstart to flag the popularity of the government and the president itself.
Attal has served as minister of education and national youth since July. Throughout his length of service, he implemented a controversial ban on the wearing of the abaya in French public schools and has worked on raising awareness of bullying in schools. Emmanuel Macron sent a post on X, saying, “I know I can count on your energy and your commitment” following the announcement. In another post, Gabriel Attal responded to the message by stating, “As prime minister, I will dedicate all the necessary means for its success. It will be one of my absolute priorities as head of government.” In addition, he thanked Emmanuel Macron for his trust in him, vowed to keep control of their destiny and unleash their French potential. He promised to dedicate all the necessary means for the country’s success and that it will be one of his absolute priorities as prime minister and head of government.
Emmanuel Macron who is approaching the two-year mark of his challenging second term with dipping approval ratings and facing voters’ growing distrust of politics in general thought hiring Gabriel Attal would be the perfect move for his career though no one could have imagined all the difficult situations awaiting Attal. Yes, Macron did cause publicity towards France and its new prime minister but media attention is not always for the better of politicians. Homosexuality has been promoted and normalised over the last decade but it is still not the easiest to stop all the criticism, especially when you’re a politician in front of the eyes of everyone. There were already tricky situations awaiting Attal but him being the youngest and first gay prime minister was just the icing on the cake of all the difficulties.
Firstly, he had to heal the wounds of a majority that has struggled through the last period. The immigration law caused separations between the right and left wings of Macronism. The law was approved by the right panel and it left the left wing with uncertainty and unsettlement. Therefore strengthening the left wing of the majority will not be easy. In addition to that Gabriel Attal was one of the first Macronists who came from the Socialist Party but his political profile has changed. Becase of that his relative majority will automatically expect him to seek compromises with the right.
A more difficult challenge is to expand the majority in the National Assembly or at least reach compromises with some of the opposition groups. Correspondingly to his first challenge, the immigration law, there is very little to nonexistent likelihood that the right and extreme right will accept compromises with the majority. Along with that Attal will have to carry the political burden falling on his shoulders and assert his authority on the government’s heavyweights. Fortunately some people in particular like Bruno Lemaire and Gérald Darmanin were merely content to place themselves under the authority of Attal.
Gabriel Attal seems determined to resolve all the issues that are waiting to be solved but all these challenges are a lot for one to handle. The new prime minister has embarked on this adventure with beaming popularity but it reflects on everyone having higher expectations for him. One small mistake could cause him to degrade quickly and create an event of disappointment. Right now, it seems as if the people of France are depending on him.
CNN, Europe - Gabriel Attal, Accessed 17 Jan. 2024
Wikipedia, Prime Minister of France, Accessed 17 Jan. 2024
Agenda Publica, Challenges of Gabriel Attal, Accessed 20 Jan. 2024