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France’s New PM Marks Trend for Age Representation in Government

Updated: Mar 11

On Jan. 9, 2024, Gabriel Attal took over the post of Prime Minister of France at the resignation of Elizabeth Borne who held the position from 2022 to 2024. Upon the acceptance of the position, Attal became the youngest Prime Minister in French history at 34-years-old. Borne stated in her resignation that her relinquishment of the position has come at the behest of French President Emmanuel Macron, citing his “will to appoint a new Prime Minister”. The Ex-Prime Minister also faced backlash as a result of legislation that fortified the French Government’s ability to deport foreigners that passed last month.

 

Attal served as part of Macron’s government since 2019, becoming the youngest member of the government of the Fifth Republic as Secretary of State at the Education Ministry at 29. The son of a Tunisian Jewish lawyer and film producer, Yves Attal, Gabriel Attal started his political career in 2006 by joining the Socialist Party, after attending a protest against far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen. By 2012, Attal gained work experience at the Ministry of Health under Minister Marisol Touraine, leading to a full-time position at the Ministry by age 23. Several years later in 2016, Attal joined “La République En Marche” (LREM), President Macron’s new centrist political party, leaving his centre-left political roots and the Socialist Party behind. Attal maintained his political drive through the next decade, gaining the title of Secretary of State at the Education Ministry, then moving into several high-profile political jobs, such as the head of LREM, Public Accounts Minister, Government Spokesperson, as well as Education Minister. Furthermore, as of June of last year, Attal was also elected to the Assemblée National.

 

With President Macron’s party, hindered by its lack of a parliamentary majority, Gabriel Attal will be the new blood he needs to reinvigorate his government. With the disillusionment of younger voters in mind leading up to the European Election, the young, quippy, and charismatic, Attal, maybe the lifeblood needed to quell this issue with his palatable minority background. MP Patrick Vignal of Macron’s Renaissance Party, also commented on Attal’s new position stating that it was “a bit like the Macron of 2017", referring to Macron’s first appointment to President, becoming the youngest French leader in modern history.



 In recent years, the call for younger politicians had grown, not only in France but in the United States as well. As the executive branch and the Senate have lingered at a median age of 65. 3 years, the House has been showing a new trend according to the pew research centre. The House’s median representative’s age has lowered to 57.9 years, and freshman representatives have mainly been in their forties or younger. When looking at the Senate, its largest age group, contributing 34 members, are aged 70 and above with its second major age group, 60 to 70 contributing another 33 members. Senators aged 40 to 60 make up a combined 31 members, leaving only 2 members under the age of 40.

 

Age dispersion in the House, also leans on the older side. Its largest age group, 40 to 60 accounts for 328 of its members. 72 members are 70 and above and the remaining 36 members are below the age of 40. Demographically, when considering age, the branches of the government of the United States do not reflect the age dispersion of the nation. The United States’ national average for age is 38.9 years, while the majority of the representatives in government are closer to retirement age. To look closer at the numbers, about 89 million Americans of voting age are below the age of 40, while adults from ages 40 to 60 only make up about 63 million, according to the United States Census Bureau. Furthermore, those 60 to 80 make up about another 61 million with Americans aged 80 and above only adding about another 12 million. Past race, gender, and sexual orientation, the interests of 89 million Americans under the age of 40 are underrepresented within congress.

 

By Dillin Bett



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