France: Macron installs first openly gay PM after Borne resigns

Macron is reportedly sacrificing Borne to boost his own image and peel off support from his rival Marine Le Pen

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: John Cody
FILE - French President Emmanuel Macron and French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne review troops during a ceremony for late French politician and former European Commission President Jacques Delors in the courtyard of the Hotel des Invalides in Paris, Friday, Jan. 5, 2024. (Stephanie Lecocq, Pool via AP, File)

After French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne tendered her government’s resignation on Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron has now named current Education Minister Gabriel Attal as the country’s new prime minister.

The 34-year-old Attal is now the first openly gay prime minister of the country and also the youngest ever.

According to France 24, a source close to the president already told the publication that Attal would be picked on Tuesday morning.

Exclusive interview: Macron’s government is banning any organization that stands in its way, and a peaceful traditionalist Catholic association is its latest target

Having already banned 34 associations as of the end of November 2023 – a record number for a French president – Emmanuel Macron, through his government, and more precisely his Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, has announced further bans against civil society organizations, including one against the conservative Catholic association Academia Christiana. Academia Christiana’s chairman, Victor Aubert, talked to Remix News about his organization and the possible motives behind this ban.

Other possible picks had included 37-year-old Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu and 43-year-old Julien Denormandie, who previously served as agriculture minister.

Macron is facing a number of headwinds, including the loss of his parliamentary majority. Immigration remains a key issue, with Macron failing to control the country’s borders, which, in part, has led to the growing popularity of Marine Le Pen’s National Rally. Macron is reportedly reshuffling his government to lean towards the right in order to choke off support for his rival.

In Borne’s resignation letter to Macron, quoted by the AFP news agency, she stressed that “more than ever, there is a need to continue with reforms.”

Although it is formally Borne who has resigned, the president’s office has been indicating for weeks that, following the adoption of a new immigration law, which has provoked a heated parliamentary debate, the head of state intends to reorganize the government to give fresh impetus to his second term of office. At the end of his term in 2027, the French constitution stipulates that Macron will not be allowed a third term as president.

According to presidential sources, Borne’s departure will entail a major reshuffle of the government, which will be organized by the new prime minister.

Borne, 62, was the second woman to hold the post of French prime minister, but her predecessor, Édith Cresson (May 1991 – April 1992), had served twice as long. A technocratic head of government from the left, Borne was unpopular with the French public, according to opinion polls, and was not known to have found common ground with the head of state.

Editor’s note: This piece has been updated after it was announced that Attal was officially announced as prime minister.

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