- Jean-Pierre Raffarin
Infobox Prime Minister
name = Jean-Pierre Raffarin
imagesize = 200px
birth_date =birth date and age|df=yes|1948|08|03
office = 166th
Prime Minister of France
17th Prime Minister of Fifth Republic
term_start = 6 May 2002
term_end = 31 May 2005
Dominique de Villepin
office2 = Minister of Commerce and Industry
term_start2 = 18 May 1995
term_end2 = 4 June 1997
spouse = Anne-Marie Perrier
religion = Roman Catholic
party = UMP
Jean-Pierre Raffarin served as the
Prime Minister of Francefrom 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.
He was born in
Poitiers, Poitou-Charentes. He studied law at the and later graduated from the École Supérieure de Commerce de Parisbusiness 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-Charentesregion. 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".
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.
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
authorityand moderate economical liberalism— that is, the support of laissez-faireeconomic 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).
Raffarin's resignation was accepted by President Chirac on 30 May 2005, after the "no" victory at the
European Constitutionreferendum, 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 Movementif Nicolas Sarkozywon 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).
In September 2004 the US conservative
blogosphereerupted with criticism of Francewhen a New York Postopinion 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
17 June 2002
Michèle Alliot-Marieceases to be Minister of Veterans, remaining only Minister of Defense.
Dominique de Villepinceases to be Minister of Cooperation and Francophonie, becoming solely Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Renaud Donnedieu de Vabresceases 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
29 November 2004 -
Nicolas Sarkozyleft 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
Thierry Breton- Minister of Economy, Finance, and Industry,
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 Mondayis 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).
*Grand-Cross of the
National Order of Meritof 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)
List of Prime Ministers of France
Politics of France
* [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)]
*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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