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Five things you should know about France’s young, openly gay prime minister

In World
January 09, 2024

PARIS – Emmanuel Macron appointed 34-year-old Education Minister Gabriel Attal as his new prime minister on Tuesday.

Here are five things you should know about Attal:

* At 34, Gabriel Attal is France’s youngest post-war prime minister, a record previously held by the leftist Laurent Fabius, who was 37 when he was named prime minister by Francois Mitterrand in 1984.

* Attal is France’s first openly gay prime minister. He was outed by an old school associate in 2018 when he was named a junior minister during Macron’s first mandate.

At the time, Attal was in a relationship with Stephane Sejourne, Macron’s former political adviser.

* Attal joined the Socialist Party when he was 17. He became a household name in French politics after being named government spokesman during the pandemic.

He would later be named as a junior minister in the finance ministry and then education minister in 2023, making a name for himself as one of Macron’s savviest cabinet ministers and a smooth communicator.

* Attal’s first move following his appointment as education minister last year was to ban the Muslim abaya dress in state schools, earning himself a popularity boost among many conservative voters despite his hailing from the left.

* Attal recently went on a famous TV show to tell the story of how he was bullied in middle school by a former classmate, who he said shamed him on a blog created to rate classmates’ physiques during the early days of the Internet revolution. REUTERS

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