Jean-Pierre Raffarin


Jean-Pierre Raffarin

Infobox Prime Minister
name = Jean-Pierre Raffarin



imagesize = 200px
birth_date =birth date and age|df=yes|1948|08|03
birth_place = Poitiers, France
office = 166th Prime Minister of France
17th Prime Minister of Fifth Republic
term_start = 6 May 2002
term_end = 31 May 2005
president = Jacques Chirac
predecessor = Lionel Jospin
successor = Dominique de Villepin
office2 = Minister of Commerce and Industry
term_start2 = 18 May 1995
term_end2 = 4 June 1997
primeminister2 = Alain Juppé
predecessor2 = Alain Madelin
successor2 = Marylise Lebranchu
occupation = Lawyer
spouse = Anne-Marie Perrier
religion = Roman Catholic
party = UMP

Jean-Pierre Raffarin audio|Fr-Jean-Pierre_Raffarin.ogg|listen (born 3 August 1948) is a French conservative politician and senator for Vienne.

Jean-Pierre Raffarin served as the Prime Minister of France from 6 May 2002 to 31 May 2005, resigning after France's rejection of the referendum on the European Union draft constitution. However, after Raffarin resigned, he said that his decision was not based on the outcome of the vote. Opinion polls following his resignation suggested that Raffarin was one of France's least popular prime ministers since the Fifth Republic was established in 1958. However, according to the book "France: 1815 - 2003", written by Martin Evans and Emmanuel Godwin, Raffarin was "a remarkably popular prime minister" despite his ability "to state the obvious and to make empty statements".

Raffarin is married to Anne-Marie Perrier (b. 1952 in Chamalières) and has a daughter, Fleur.

Early life

He was born in Poitiers, Poitou-Charentes. He studied law at the and later graduated from the École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris business school. He started his professional career in marketing.

In the 1970s, his first political commitment was in the association of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's young supporters. Defining himself as a "giscardien", he joined the staff of Lionel Stoléru, Secretary of state for Manual Workers and Immigration, and the Republican Party, the liberal-conservative component of the center-right confederation the Union for French Democracy (UDF).

Member of National Assembly

In the 1980s, he started a career in local politics in Poitou-Charentes region. With the support of René Monory, the local political leader, he took the chair of the regional council in 1988. Seven years later, he was elected senator of Vienne "département".

In government

During the 1995 presidential campaign, while most UDF politicians supported Édouard Balladur, he chose the winning candidacy of Jacques Chirac. In return, he was nominated Minister of Small and Medium-sized Companies, Commerce and Craft Industry in Alain Juppé's cabinet (1995-1997).

At the same time, the pro-Chirac UDF members founded the Popular Party for French Democracy. Then, he returned in the Republican Party, became Liberal Democracy (DL) in 1997. He was vice-president of DL until 2002.

Prime Minister

During the 2002 presidential campaign, he advocated the union of the right behind the incumbent President Chirac. After his re-election, Chirac wished to give a sign of political renewal. Furthemore, elected in a special second round by a majority of left-wing voters, he searched for a moderate to lead the cabinet and the June 2002 legislative campaign. Raffarin participated in the formation of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).

His political policies combined authority and moderate economical liberalism — that is, the support of laissez-faire economic policies. In 2003 he launched reforms of the public retirement scheme and of decentralization, which led to many strikes. During the summer of 2003 the country experienced an unusual heat wave which caused the death of nearly 15,000 people. The perceived late reaction of the government was blamed on his administration. In 2004 he began a reform of the French state-run health-care system.

Raffarin's governments were known for their internal quarrels with various ministers taking opposite positions in public. The alleged lack of authority of the Prime Minister was mocked by the media.

On 28 March 2004 the ruling UMP party suffered an important defeat during the regional elections, with all but one "région" out of 22 of mainland France going to the opposition (PS, PCF, Les Verts). This was generally interpreted, including by Raffarin himself in his post-election speech, as "a sign of distrust against the government from the electorate". On 30 March 2004 Jean-Pierre Raffarin tendered the resignation of his government to president Jacques Chirac, who immediately re-appointed him prime minister, with the delegation to form a new government. This major cabinet reshuffle removed some of its most controversial ministers like Luc Ferry (education) or Jean-François Mattei (health).

Resignation

Raffarin's resignation was accepted by President Chirac on 30 May 2005, after the "no" victory at the European Constitution referendum, and he was replaced as Prime Minister by Dominique de Villepin.

On 18 September 2005, he was elected Senator in the Vienne "département". Speculation were that he could eventually try to become President of the Senate or President of the Union for a Popular Movement if Nicolas Sarkozy won the 2007 presidential election. He became one of the Vice Presidents of the UMP in 2007. In September 2008, he sekked the Senate UMP fraction’s investiture to become President of the Senate, but was defeated by Gérard Larcher.

Raffarin is Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur (Legion of Honor) and Grand-Croix de l'ordre national du Mérite (National Order of Merit).

International policies

In September 2004 the US conservative blogosphere erupted with criticism of France when a New York Post opinion piece claimed that "Le Figaro" reported that Raffarin said "the Iraqi insurgents are our best allies". There is no trace of this quote in "Le Figaro", and the opinion piece is no longer available from the NYP website. During a state visit to China on 21 April 2005 he avoided opposing the new "anti-secession" law on Taiwan, stating that "The anti-secession law is completely compatible with the position of France" and "The position of France has always been to 'one China' and we will remain attached to this position". On the embargo on weapons, he stated that "France continues to ask for a lifting of the embargo, and does not see what could lead the European Council to change position on that question". [http://sg.news.yahoo.com/050423/1/3s3pn.html] [http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?id=9677&t=1&c=1] By convention, foreign affairs are one of the President's—and not the Prime Minister's—sole responsibilities.

Raffarin's First Government

"7 May 2002 - 31 March 2004 (called Raffarin I until 17 June, and became Raffarin II)"

*Jean-Pierre Raffarin - Prime Minister
*Dominique de Villepin - Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation, and Francophonie
*Michèle Alliot-Marie - Minister of Defense and Veterans
*Nicolas Sarkozy - Minister of the Interior, Interior Security, and Local Liberties
*Francis Mer - Minister of Economy, Finance, and Industry
*François Fillon - Minister of Labour, Social Affairs, and Solidarity
*Dominique Perben - Minister of Justice
*Luc Ferry - Minister of National Education, Youth, Higher Education, and Research
*Jean-Jacques Aillagon - Minister of Culture and Communication
*Hervé Gaymard - Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs
*Roselyne Bachelot - Minister of Ecology and Sustainable Development
* Tokia Saïfi - Minister Delegate of Sustainable Development
*Jean-François Lamour - Minister of Sport
*Brigitte Girardin - Minister of Overseas
*Gilles de Robien - Minister of Transport, Housing, Tourism, Sea, and Equipment
*Jean-François Mattei - Minister of Health, Family, and Handicapped People
*Jean-Paul Delevoye - Minister of Civil Service, Reform of the State, and Regional Planning

Minor changes

17 June 2002
*Michèle Alliot-Marie ceases to be Minister of Veterans, remaining only Minister of Defense.
*Dominique de Villepin ceases to be Minister of Cooperation and Francophonie, becoming solely Minister of Foreign Affairs.
* Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres ceases to be Minister of European affairs and is replaced by Noëlle Lenoir.

Raffarin's Second Government

"31 March 2004 - 29 November 2004 (called Raffarin III)"

*Jean-Pierre Raffarin - Prime Minister
*Michel Barnier - Minister of Foreign Affairs
*Michèle Alliot-Marie - Minister of Defense
*Dominique de Villepin - Minister of the Interior, Interior Security, and Local Liberties
*Nicolas Sarkozy - Minister of Economy, Finance, and Industry
*Jean-Louis Borloo - Minister of Labour, Employment, and Social Cohesion
*Dominique Perben - Minister of Justice
*François Fillon - Minister of National Education, Higher Education, and Research
**François d'Aubert - Minister delegate of Research
*Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres - Minister of Culture and Communication
*Hervé Gaymard - Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fish, and Rural Affairs
*Serge Lepeltier - Minister of Ecology and Sustainable Development
*Jean-François Lamour - Minister of Youth, Sport, and Community Life
*Brigitte Girardin - Minister of Overseas
*Gilles de Robien - Minister of Transport, Tourism, Regional Planning, Sea, and Equipment
*Philippe Douste-Blazy - Minister of Health and Social Protection
*Marie-Josée Roig - Minister of Family and Childhood
*Renaud Dutreil - Minister of Civil Service and Reform of the State
*Nicole Ameline - Minister of Parity and Professional Equality

Minor changes

29 November 2004 - Nicolas Sarkozy left to be the president of the UMP. Thus there was a reshuffle.
*Hervé Gaymard - Minister of Economy, Finance, and Industry (Replaced Nicolas Sarkozy)
*Dominique Bussereau - Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fish, and Rural Affairs (Replaced Hervé Gaymard)

25 February 2005 - following a scandal forcing Hervé Gaymard resignation.
*Thierry Breton - Minister of Economy, Finance, and Industry,

Raffarinades

Jean-Pierre Raffarin was often teased for his optimistic aphorisms, known colloquially and ironically as "raffarinades", the best known being "La route est droite, mais la pente est forte" ("The road is straight, but the slope is steep"). Some consider that the word "raffarinade" was created in reference to the other French word "mazarinade". However, "mazarinade" refers to the songs that the "frondeurs" (French revolutionaries during the "Régence" of Queen Anne - Archduchess of Austria - and chief minister Cardinal de Mazarin, before king Louis XIV's personal reign) sang to mock the unpopular chief minister.

Raffarin also tried his English prior to the referendum on the European draft Constitution but this turned out to be an ill-advised idea, as shown in this famous excerpt [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4118142947508150872&q=raffarin&pl=true] from his speech: "Win the yes need the no to win against the no." The referendum itself was enventually nicknamed "le Raffarindum" by its opponents while Whit Monday is sometimes referred to as "la Saint-Raffarin" by discontented workers (following a decision by Raffarin, French workers are supposed to work on Whit Monday for free).

Honours

*Grand-Cross of the National Order of Merit of the French Republic (ex-officio) (2002)
*Officer of the National Order of Quebec (2003) [http://www.ordre-national.gouv.qc.ca/membres/nominations_etrangeres.htm#raffarin]
*Grand Cross of the Order of the Star of Romania (2004)

ee also

* List of Prime Ministers of France
* Politics of France

External links

* [http://www.premier-ministre.gouv.fr/acteurs/premier_ministre/histoire_chefs_gouvernement_28/jean_pierre_raffarin_295/ Official biography (in French)]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/1970512.stm BBC Profile (in English)]

References

*cite news | title=De Villepin appointed French PM | date=31 May 2005 | publisher=BBC News | url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4595423.stm


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