Who is Gabriel Attal, France’s first ever gay prime minister? 

Gabriel Attal has become France’s youngest – and first gay – prime minister. 

On Tuesday (9 January), French president Emmanuel Macron named the 34-year-old education minister as the country’s new PM. 

Replacing Elisabeth Borne, who resigned on Monday (8 January) over a controversial new immigration law, Attal has risen in little more than five years from a work-experience recruit in the health ministry to the second-most powerful person in France.

In her resignation letter, Borne, who was appointed as the second woman to be appointed to the role, in May 2022, wrote that Macron had decided to replace her. 

Attal’s shock appointment comes as Macron, whose term ends in 2027, attempts to renew his image amid political pressure from the far right. 

France’s 2022 election marked the closest that the country’s far-right has come to taking power, with Macron’s defeat of Marine Le Pen leading to protests breaking out across the country, confirming large-scale public support for the leader of National Rally. 

On X/Twitter, Macron announced Attal’s appointment, saying: “I know I can count on your energy and your commitment to implement the rearmament and regeneration project that I announced.”

Soutenons avec force un ministre qui incarne des convictions inébranlables pour la mission qui lui a été confiée par le président. En effet, pour contribuer à changer le cours de notre société, il est essentiel de soutenir des personnes comme Gabriel ATTAL intègres. Comme le…

— Antoine Dias (@diasantoine2) November 6, 2023

What we know about Gabriel Attal 

Attal attended Paris’ prestigious private school, l’Ecole alsacienne. During a recent TV appearance, he opened up about being bullied and facing repeated homophobic abuse while there.

Soutenons avec force un ministre qui incarne des convictions inébranlables pour la mission qui lui a été confiée par le président. En effet, pour contribuer à changer le cours de notre société, il est essentiel de soutenir des personnes comme Gabriel ATTAL intègres. Comme le…

— Antoine Dias (@diasantoine2) November 6, 2023

Information provided by the French government states that Attal has served in a variety of roles, including government spokesperson and public accounts minister.

In 2018, when he was named a junior minister during Macron’s first term, Attal was outed by someone from his school days, Reuters reported. He then went public about his civil union with Stéphane Séjourné, a member of the European Parliament. 

At 17, he joined the Socialist Party, before he was named a government spokesperson during the pandemic, making him a household name across France.

He later went on to be named a junior minister in the finance ministry, then education minister last year. 

Attal received a popularity boost among conservative voters after he banned the Muslim abaya dress in state schools. 

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