At just 34, Attal is set to become the youngest French prime minister in history and the first one to be openly gay.
French Education Minister Gabriel Attal has been tipped by President Macron as the new prime minister to replace the outgoing premier, according to a presidential statement released Tuesday.
“The president of the republic appointed Mr. Gabriel Attal prime minister, and tasked him with forming a government,” the statement said.
Macron later confirmed the move on the messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter, saying that he could count on Attal’s “energy and commitment in realizing the project of invigoration and regeneration that I have announced.”
Former Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne resigned on Monday.
Prime ministers in France have a very subordinate position to that of the president and as heads of government generally follow the political course laid out by the head of state.
Who is Gabriel Attal?
Attal, 34, came to widespread attention in France as the government spokesman during the coronavirus pandemic.
He has emerged as one of the country’s most popular politicians in recent opinion polls, and is a close ally of the president.
Attal will become the youngest French prime minister in history and the first one to be openly gay.
The previous youngest premier was Laurent Fabius, who was named prime minister in 1987 by late President Francois Mitterrand aged 37.
Following his appointment as education minister last year, Attal’s first move was to ban the Muslim abaya dress in state schools, scoring accolades from conservatives despite his left-wing background, being originally a supporter of the Socialist Party before moving to Macron’s centrist movement when it was founded in 2016.
Cabinet reshuffle expected
The appointment comes as Macron and allied centrist forces seek to slow the momentum of the far right under Marine Le Pen ahead of European Parliament elections this summer.
The president is also seeking a fresh image for the last three years of his second and last term following protests over unpopular pension reforms, the loss of his overall majority in parliamentary elections and controversy over immigration legislation.
The revamp is also to allow a new face of France to be presented to the world when Paris hosts the Olympics and Paralympics in summer.