Macron will hope new PM can stop Le Pen's relentless RISE

Macron's appointment of a new French Prime Minister comes as Le Pen's party continues to gather momentum.
Le Pen hailed Macron's bill as an 'ideological victory'
Michael  Heaver

By Michael Heaver

Published: 11/01/2024

- 10:09

Can Gabriel Attal, the youngest ever French Prime Minister, boost support for Macron's agenda?

French President Emmanuel Macron is once again seeking to reset his leadership, with a new Prime Minister now in place.

Replacing Elisabeth Borne is the 34-year-old Gabriel Attal, with Macron and his allies clearly hoping that the change can boost support for the French Government.

This comes at a time when Marine Le Pen's party the National Rally has established itself as the main opposition to Macron, a development that will worry much of the EU establishment.

Of course Macron has previously defeated Le Pen, twice. Yet polls conducted in 2023 showed that if there was a rematch now, French voters would opt for Le Pen over the current French President.

Many in France are now warning, including allies of Macron, that as things stand Le Pen is favourite to become French President next time round. Though that election is still a long while away, taking place in 2027.

Macron's popularity took a hit after pushing through controversial pension reform changes without a vote, raising the retirement age by invoking an article instead.

This sparked nationwide protests and it was Le Pen's group, rather than left-wing French parties, that mainly picked up support.

More recently Macron saw his party outflanked by Le Pen's party, who have over 80 seats.

Initially Macron's flagship Immigration Bill was rejected, before changes were made and it got voted through - but only with the support from Le Pen and her MPs who then claimed victory.

After the vote, Le Pen declared: “Under pressure from National Rally voters, this Bill will harden the conditions surrounding immigration.

“We can salute ideological progress, an ideological victory of the National Rally, because it will now be etched in legislation that there is a national priority,”

Recently French polls have seen the National Rally with a clear lead in the European Elections, backed by a record-high 31% of voters.

Whilst Le Pen herself has also recently recorded record-high support of 33%.

In terms of those challenging Le Pen, the new PM Gabriel Attal clearly is viewed as proper competition.

When the French public were recently asked if they'd like to have a beer with a politician, Attal only came narrowly behind Le Pen in the popularity stakes.

Edouard Philippe, another former French PM and Macron ally, actually topped the poll and is also seen as a viable contender for the presidency next time round.

With the European Elections in France on the horizon, we will now see if another reset of the Macron agenda - and a fresh-faced new Prime Minister - can help boost support for the President's party.

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