Gabriel Atal becomes youngest French Prime Minister and first openly gay

Recently appointed French Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

Gabriel Atal was named France’s youngest-ever prime minister on Tuesday, as President Emmanuel Macron seeks a fresh start to the remainder of his term amid growing political pressure from the far right.

Atal, 34 years, He rose to prominence as a government spokesperson and education minister And in the polls he was considered the most popular minister in the outgoing government. He is the first openly gay French Prime Minister.

His predecessor, Elizabeth Bourne, resigned on Monday after recent political unrest over immigration legislation that would strengthen the government’s ability to deport foreigners.

Macron’s office announced the appointment in a statement. He will work with Atal to name the new government in the coming days, although some key ministers are expected to retain their posts.

French President Emmanuel Macron addresses the public with French Education and Youth Minister Gabriel Attal at the ‘Lycée Professionnel de l’Argensol’ or Argensol Vocational School in Orange, south-eastern France (Ludovic Marin/Pool via Reuters/Archive )

“I know I can count on your energy and commitment”, Macron wrote in a message to Atal, published in X. The president referred to Atal’s revival of “the spirit of 2017,” when Macron shook up French politics and French history on a centrist, pro-business platform aimed at reviving one of the greatest powers in world history. Won a surprise victory as the youngest President in the The world. Economies.

The 46-year-old president has since shifted to the right on security and migration issues, particularly as his far-right rival Marine Le Pen and her anti-immigration, anti-Islam National Rally have gained political influence.

Macron’s second term will run until 2027 and the constitution bars him from seeking a third consecutive term. Political observers also suggested that Macron, a strong supporter of European integration, wants his new government to prepare for June’s EU elections, where far-right anti-EU populists are expected to gain influence.

His critics on both the left and the right targeted Atal for his limited experience, his upbringing in Paris that was considered different from those fighting in the provinces, and his loyalty to the president.

Atal, 34, rose to prominence as government spokesperson and education minister. Reuters/Sarah Messonnier/File

Atal, a former member of the Socialist Party, joined Macron’s newly created political movement in 2016 and was the government’s spokesperson from 2020 to 2022., a work that made him famous among the French public. He was named Minister of the Budget, one of the most prestigious positions in the French government, before being named Minister of Education in July.

Atal immediately announced a ban on wearing long dresses in classrooms, which came into effect with the new school year in September, saying the garments worn predominantly by Muslims were challenging secularism in schools.

He also began a plan to experiment with uniforms in some public schools in an effort to divert attention from clothing and reduce bullying.

Atal recently detailed on national television TF1 how he faced bullying in high school, including homophobic bullying.

Atal, a former member of the Socialist Party, joined Macron’s newly created political movement in 2016 and was the government’s spokesperson from 2020 to 2022. Reuters/Stephanie Lecoq/file photo

In the French political system, the Prime Minister is appointed by the President and is answerable to Parliament. The Prime Minister is in charge of domestic policy, especially implementing economic measures, and coordinating the government’s team of ministers.

The President has substantial powers over foreign policy and European affairs and is the commander-in-chief of the country’s armed forces.

Macron’s centrists lost their majority in parliament last year, forcing the government to resort to political maneuvering and use special constitutional powers to pass laws.

Tough negotiations and heated parliamentary debate over the immigration bill raised questions about the Bourne government’s ability to pass major future legislation. Macron’s centrist coalition was only able to approve the measure after reaching an agreement with the conservative Republican Party, leading to the resignation of a left-leaning government minister and angering many in Macron’s own coalition.

French President Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with French Education and Youth Minister Gabriel Attal during a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, as part of the 105th anniversary commemorations on November 11, 2023. The Armistice of November 11, 1918 ended World War I (WWI). Ludovic Marin/Pool via Reuters

Borne also faced mass protests last year, often turning violent, against a law raising the retirement age from 62 to 64, and days of unrest across France over the fatal police killing of a teenager. Was spread.

(With information from AP)

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