- Alain Poher
name = Alain Poher
imagesize = 170px
order = Interim President of the French Republic
term_start = 29 April 1969
term_end = 20 June 1969
Maurice Couve de Murville
Charles de Gaulle
term_start2 = 2 April 1974
term_end2 = 27 May 1974
Valery Giscard d'Estaing
order3=President of the French Senate
death_date=death date and age |1996|12|09|1909|04|17
Alain Émile Louis Marie Poher (17 April 1909 – 9 December 1996) was a French
centristpolitician, affiliated first with the Popular Republican Movementand later with the Democratic Centre. He served as a Senator for Val-de-Marnefrom 1946 to 1995. He was President of the Senate from 3 October 1968 to 1 October 1992 and, in that capacity, served twice as the country's interim president.
Biography and political career
Poher was born in
He graduated from Lycée Louis-le-Grand et
Lycée Saint-Louisin Parisand later studied law. On 19 August 1938 he married Henriette Tugler, with whom he had one daughter, Marie-Agnès.
His political career began in 1938, when he became a junior executive officer in the Ministry of Finance.
Later he served on several positions before entering Senate:
* Chairman, Ministry of Finance Liberation Committee (from 20 July 1944)
* Head of Social Services, Ministry of Finance (from 1 January 1945)
* Mayor of Ablon-sur-Seine (from 1 January 1946)
* Sec. of State for Finance and Economic Affairs (Govt. of
* Sec. of State for the Budget (Govt. of
A longtime ally and political protege of Schumann, Poher was elected to the Senate in 1952, where he remained for over 40 years (until 1995). As Senator he continued to serve in some governments and his home town mayor.
As Schuman, he was known for strongly pro-European integration positions, having served as
President of the European Parliament(1968-1969).
Interim Presidency of the Republic
According to the
order of successionestablished by the Constitution of the Fifth Republic, the president of the senateassumes the nation's presidential powers and duties following the president's death or resignation, and becomes interim Head of State until the next election.
Poher's first stint as interim president came on 29 April 1969, when
Charles de Gaulleresigned. Previously he was one of de Gaulle's most notable political opponents and played a key role in the "no" success in de Gaulle's final referendum.
During his interim Presidency Poher continued to serve as Senate President. However, he resided during this time in the
Initially Poher tried to recruit
General Marie Pierre Kœnigas a candidate for the Presidency and offered him his full support. Kœnig, however, declined to run, citing his poor health and stating that one general should not replace another general as the head of state.
After Kœnig refusal, Poher himself announced his candidacy. Due to favourable polls he was viewed as the strongest opponent of
Georges Pompidouand the only non-Gaullist candidate who had a real opportunity to win the election. Lack of a longstanding party machine, however, hurt his chances.
During his short term in office Poher's main task was overseeing the incoming election, which he himself participated in. However during his tenure he took some major initiatives; for example, he fired longtime de Gaulle confidant
Jacques Foccart, a Secretary-General for African Affairs and, unofficially, chief of the Gaullist secret services (he returned to the Élysée after Pompidou's election).
Poher also ordered the directors of France's state-controlled radio and television networks that public media must be politically neutral and not act in interest of any particular party. His successors followed this precedent. He also ordered the redeployment of a large police force in
Paris, staying after the May 1968 events.
During his tenure Poher served with a Gaullist Government of Prime Minister
Maurice Couve de Murville, de Gaulle's close ally. Some even referred to this period as the first cohabitation. Despite sharp political differences Poher was widely credited for model cooperation with the Government.
Despite defeat in the election, due to his accomplishment Poher, previously largely unknown to the public, developed a large popularity during Interim Presidency.
He served again as Interim President in 1974 after Pompidou died in office. This time, however, he did not run for his own term and stepped down after
Valery Giscard d'Estaingwas elected.
* His favourite author was
* During his 1969 Presidential bid he was often compared by the
U.S.press to Harry Truman, due to his folksy style and succession
* He was considered by some to have been the
Merovingianpretender to the French throne.
Jean-Raymond Tournoux, "Le tourmend et la fatalite", 1974
* [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,844806,00.html A Caretaker Who Cares] (article in
* [http://www.elysee.fr/elysee/elysee.fr/francais_archives/la_presidence/la_galerie_des_presidents/v_eme_republique/alain_poher.20975.html Alain Poher - Présidence de la République]
* [http://www.info-france-usa.org/atoz/poher.asp Embassy of France in the US - Alain Poher]
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