January 14, 2024

FRANCE: President Emmanuel Macron Appointed France's Youngest Ever, And First Openly Gay Prime Minister. He's Replacing Woman Who Resigned Day Before Due To Stregthening Deportation Backlash.

WION published January 9, 2024: French President Macron appoints 34-year-old Gabriel Attal as Prime Minister. Race To Power. Gabriel Attal was named Tuesday as France’s youngest-ever prime minister, as President Emmanuel Macron seeks a fresh start for the rest of his term amid growing political pressure from the far right. Macron’s office announced the appointment in a statement. Attal, 34, rose to prominence as the government spokesman and education minister. 
Firstpost published January 9, 2024: French President Macron Bets his Presidency on a New Prime Minister. Gabriel Attal has been appointed as France's youngest-ever prime minister by French President Emmanuel Macron in a strategic government shake-up. Attal is France's first openly gay prime minister- and has served as a government spokesman and education minister. Attal's appointment is being seen as an attempt by President Macron to tackle the increasing political challenges from the far right. Palki Sharma tells you more.
CBS News
written by Associated Press
Tuesday January 9, 2024

Paris — Gabriel Attal was named Tuesday as France's youngest-ever prime minister, as President Emmanuel Macron seeks a fresh start for the rest of his term amid growing political pressure from the far right. Attal is also France's first openly gay prime minister.

Macron's office announced the appointment in a statement. Attal, 34, rose to prominence as the government spokesman and education minister. His predecessor Elisabeth Borne resigned Monday following recent political turmoil over an immigration law that strengthens the government's ability to deport foreigners.

Macron — who was France's youngest-ever president when he came to power in 2017 — is to work with Attal to name a new government in the coming days, though some key ministers are expected to continue in their posts.

The 46-year-old president has shifted rightward on security and migration issues since rising to power on a pro-business centrist platform in 2017, notably as far-right rival Marine Le Pen and her anti-immigration, anti-Islam National Rally have gained political influence.

Attal, a former member of the Socialist Party, joined Macron's newly created political movement in 2016 and was government spokesperson from 2020 to 2022, a job that made him well-known to the French public. He was then named budget minister before being appointed in July as education minister, one of the most prestigious positions in the French government.

Attal quickly announced a ban on long robes in classrooms which took effect with the new school year in September, saying the garments worn mainly by Muslims were testing secularism in the schools.

He also launched a plan to experiment with uniforms in some public schools, as part of efforts to move the focus away from clothes and reduce school bullying.

Attal recently detailed on national television TF1 how he suffered bullying at middle school, including homophobic harassment.
Times Of India published January 13, 2024: Stéphane Séjourné is France's New Foreign Minister. PM Gabriel Attal & Séjourné say they are single.

France's youngest prime minister, Gabriel Attal, dubbed "mini Macron," appoints ex-boyfriend Stéphane Séjourné as foreign affairs minister. The relationship, previously undisclosed, raises transparency concerns in French politics. Despite reports in October stating Attal had no partner, the revelation of his past connection with Séjourné sparks scrutiny. Séjourné's role as foreign minister and the perceived rightward shift in Macron's government generate political debates. Macron's centrist alliance, aiming for renewal amid far-right pressure, secures passage with a deal with Republicans. However, the potential loss of a parliamentary majority in 2022 poses challenges. French opinion polls show he was the most popular minister in Borne's government.

The Guardian, UK
written by Angelique Chrisafis in Paris
Friday January 12, 2024

The French Union of Jewish Students has called for sanctions against people who have written antisemitic and homophobic comments about France’s new prime minister, Gabriel Attal, on the social network X.

Attal, 34, who was appointed by the president, Emmanuel Macron, this week, is France’s youngest prime minister and also the first out gay politician in the job.

His father, a lawyer and film producer who died in 2015, was Jewish and his mother is Orthodox Christian. He was baptised as Christian but Attal has said his father told him he would feel Jewish all his life and would always face antisemitism because he had a Jewish name.

The UEJF posted a message on X saying: “The nomination of Gabriel Attal as prime minister is the object of a new wave of antisemitic and homophobic hatred on X. It’s no longer the moment for condemnation but for action.”

The union called for sanctions against anyone writing hate speech on the platform. They said there should be prison sentences for those promoting hatred and fines against X itself, which it said “refuses to moderate hatred”.

After Attal’s appointment this week, Yonathan Arfi, the head of the Crif umbrella group of Jewish organisations, complained of “a wave of homophobic and antisemitic commentary on social media”. Arfi said that for those driven by hatred Attal was being reduced to his sexual orientation and the origin of his surname.

The French government delegation tasked with fighting racism, antisemitism and anti-LGBTQ+ hatred said it would report any hate comments to the interior ministry’s Pharos platform, which monitors illicit content online.

This week, LGBTQ+ groups in France welcomed Attal’s appointment, saying it sent a strong message about equality and acceptance in French society. Just over a decade ago, as France prepared to legalise same-sex marriage, there were massive street protests as more than 150,000 people demonstrated against the law change across France. There was also a vicious seven-day slanging match in parliament and a sharp rise in homophobia.

Some figures who have served in government under Macron opposed same-sex marriage in 2013, including the interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, who as mayor of a northern French town had said he would not marry same-sex couples. Darmanin said last year he had been wrong. Only 17 years ago, in 2007, France had a prime minister, François Fillon, who had voted against the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1982.

“Gabriel Attal’s nomination is going in the right direction. It shows that in 2024 in France it’s possible to be a gay prime minister,” Joël Deumier, the head of the organisation SOS Homophobie, told Agence France-Presse. “The change in mentalities has made his appointment possible.”

But SOS Homophobie said there was still hatred and discrimination and what counted was government action on equality issues.

Attal was in a civil partnership with Stéphane Séjourné, a member of the European parliament for Macron’s Renaissance party, but their relationship is believed to have ended. Séjourné was made foreign minister on Thursday night.

Attal told French TV last year that he had faced homophobic bullying when at school in Paris. He said a student had set up a website where homophobic comments were made about him but he did not dare tell his family what he was going through. “It was suffering, and I think the worst is when you think that suffering will never end,” he said.

When aged 29 he became the youngest member of a French government since the second world war, he said he had been outed in a book. Attal said his sexual orientation had never been a secret but he would have preferred to have spoken about it on his own terms.

He said last year that as education minister he had made a police complaint over a threatening, hate-filled letter sent to him decorated with a yellow star and a pink star. He said his message at the time was that people should always go to the police over antisemitic or homophobic acts.

There have been several gay members of government in France in recent years, including Sarah El Haïry, who served as junior minister for health and biodiversity, who was considered in the French media to be the first out lesbian member of a modern French government. El Haïry and her partner are expecting a baby through assisted reproduction, which was only legalised for lesbians and single women in France in 2021.

Several other European countries have had gay prime ministers, among them Leo Varadkar in Ireland, Elio Di Rupo in Belgium, Xavier Bettel in Luxembourg and Ana Brnabić in Serbia. In 2009, Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir became both Iceland’s first female prime minister and the world’s first out gay prime minister.

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