The French found out on Thursday evening that, under their new prime minister, nothing will change in the way their country is run. Gabriel Attal, the Boy Wonder who at 34 is the youngest premier of the Fifth Republic, unveiled his new cabinet – and there was a distinct lack of freshness. The controversial Gerald Darmanin remains as interior minister, despite the fact he has presided over unprecedented rises in crime and illegal immigration. Meanwhile, there is no change at the ministry of justice or the ministry of the economy.
The biggest talking points concern the new minister of culture, Rachida Dati, who served as minister of justice in Nicolas Sarkozy’s centre-right government between 2007 and 2009. In an interview in 2021, Dati was asked what she thought of Macronism. ‘It is an absence of ideology, of conviction,’ she replied. ‘A party of traitors from the left and traitors from the right, which is nothing without Emmanuel Macron.’ She is currently under investigation for corruption, an allegation she denies.
The other surprise is the appointment of Stéphane Séjourné as foreign minister. The 38-year-old Séjourné was in a relationship with Attal for a number of years and, like his former partner, was a socialist before signing up to Macronism.
Séjourné is a Macron loyalist who has never before served in government. He replaces the experienced Catherine Colonna, 67, a former ambassador to the UK and a career diplomat, who perhaps had too much of her own mind for her president’s taste.
Macron’s intention with this ‘new’ government is to fool the country, the majority of whom lean to the right, into believing that he is listening to them. Le Monde has fallen for his subterfuge, claiming that the president has ‘tilted his cabinet to the right’.