Gabriel Attal becomes France's youngest-ever PM at 34

He is openly gay.

Brenda Khoo | January 12, 2024, 11:16 AM



At 34, Gabriel Attal has become the youngest-ever Prime Minister of France on Jan. 9, France24 reported, appointed by French President Emmanuel Macron.

He is also openly gay and was recently in a civil partnership with Stéphane Séjourné, 38, who is an EP member and secretary general of Macron’s incumbent party, before the relationship ended.

From intern to prime minister

Attal's government career began in 2012, at the age of 23, where he took on an internship in the health ministry. This led to a full-time job. He also served as a local councillor in Vanves, in the suburbs of Paris.

In 2016, he left the Socialist Party — which he joined at age 17 — to join Macron’s fledgling political movement, En Marche!

Attal later secured a seat in France's National Assembly (lower house of Parliament) in 2017.

Subsequently, Attal held roles including deputy education minister, public action and accounts minister, education minister, and government spokesperson during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Attal was appointed to his current office by Macron less than two weeks into 2024, replacing former PM Élisabeth Borne.

Borne, 62, had served as France’s second female PM for less than two years, before resigning on Jan. 8.

"Young Gabriel"

Known by fellow ministers as "young Gabriel", Attal has become a household name in France.

His appointment signals a desire by Macron to move past last year's unpopular reforms and improve his party's chances in European Parliament elections in June, Reuters speculated.

Opinion polls show Macron's party trailing far-right leader Marine Le Pen's party by around eight to ten percentage points, according to CNA.

Attal has himself made controversial decisions during his time as education minister.

In August 2023, he banned students from wearing abayas, long robes worn by some Muslim women and girls.

He explained that he viewed the garment as a “religious gesture” and a potential challenge to secularism in schools.


Following Attal’s appointment, the French president said in a post on X (formerly Twitter) about Attal:

“I know I can count on your energy and your commitment to implement the project of revitalisation and regeneration that I announced.”

In response, Attal thanked Macron on X:

“Thank you Mr President for your trust. I appreciate the honor given to me to be appointed Prime Minister.

A goal: to maintain control of our destiny, unleash the French potential, and rearm our country.

Let’s get to work with strength, humility, and openness in the service of the French.”

Attal also promised to work to "control our destiny and free up France's potential", Reuters reported.

"I'm well aware of the context in which I take on this job," he said.

"Too many French doubt our country, doubt themselves or our future. I think in particular of the middle class ... who get up every morning to go to work ... and sometimes can't make ends meet."

Not surprisingly, Le Pen expressed her disapproval of the appointment.

"What can the French expect from this fourth prime minister and this fifth government in seven years? Nothing," she wrote on X.

Background info

In the legislative elections of June 2022, Macron lost the absolute majority of his party's seats.

Macron's ratings have also been hit amid increased living costs, immigration issues, and protests over controversial pension reforms, France24 and Reuters observed.

His latest appointment appears to be a move intended to rejuvenate the government, as well as increase its appeal to the disillusioned younger voters, France24 noted.

Top image from Christine Lagarde/X.