François Bayrou

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François Bayrou
BayrouEM.jpg
Minister of Justice
Assumed office
17 May 2017
Prime Minister Édouard Philippe
Preceded by Jean-Jacques Urvoas
Mayor of Pau
Assumed office
4 April 2014
Preceded by Martine Lignières-Cassou
Leader of the Democratic Movement
Assumed office
2 December 2007
Preceded by Position established
Leader of the Union for French Democracy
In office
25 February 1998 – 30 November 2007
Preceded by François Léotard
Succeeded by Position abolished
Minister of National Education
In office
29 March 1993 – 4 June 1997
Prime Minister Édouard Balladur
Alain Juppé
Preceded by Jack Lang
Succeeded by Claude Allègre
Personal details
Born (1951-05-25) 25 May 1951 (age 66)
Bordères, France
Political party Union for French Democracy
(1979–2007)
Centre of Social Democrats
(1979–1995)
Democratic Force (1995–1998)
Democratic Movement (2007–present)
Alma mater University Bordeaux Montaigne
Website Official website

François Bayrou (French pronunciation: ​[fʁɑ̃swa bajʁu], born 25 May 1951) is a French centrist politician and the president of the Democratic Movement, who was a candidate in the 2002, 2007 and 2012 French presidential elections. He was an early candidate in the 2017 presidential election, but withdrew in favor of Emmanuel Macron, who – after winning the election – subsequently named Bayrou Minister of State and Minister of Justice in the Philippe Government.

Early life[edit]

François Bayrou was born on 25 May 1951, in Bordères, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, a village located between Pau and Lourdes. He is the oldest son of farmers Calixte Bayrou and Emma Sarthou. He first went to secondary school in Pau, before transferring to Bordeaux. He studied literature at university, and at the age of 23, sat the "agrégation", the highest qualifying level for teachers in senior high schools and universities in France. Around the same time, his father was killed in a tractor accident. Bayrou and his wife Élisabeth ("Babette") have six children, and live on the farm where Bayrou was born.

Prior to embarking on his political career, Bayrou taught history in Béarn in the French Pyrenees.[1] He is the author of several books on politics and history, including one on King Henry IV of France. Bayrou's hobby is raising horses. Although a practising Roman Catholic, he strongly supports France's system of laïcité.

Political career[edit]

First steps in politics : 1982–2002[edit]

Bayrou, a member of the Centre of Social Democrats (CDS), the Christian-democratic wing of the Union for French Democracy (UDF) confederation, was elected to the General Council of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department in 1982, then the French National Assembly four years later. After the victory of the RPR/UDF coalition in the 1993 legislative election, he became Education Minister in the cabinet led by Edouard Balladur. In this post, he proposed a reform allowing local authorities to subsidise private schools, which caused massive protests and was quashed by the Constitutional Council.

Despite supporting Édouard Balladur's candidacy in the 1995 presidential election, Bayrou remained Education Minister following Jacques Chirac's election and the formation of a new government headed by Alain Juppé. Following the majority for the Plural Left in the 1997 legislative election, Bayrou returned to opposition and became president of the UDF in 1998, transforming it into a unified party rather than a union of smaller parties.

Positioning of the UDF as a centrist party : 2002–2007[edit]

In 2002 François Bayrou rejected proposals to merge the UDF with the Rally for the Republic (RPR), into a new entity that later became the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP). As a result, many UDF members left to join the UMP.

Bayrou was increasingly critical of the direction taken by the UMP-led government, which he described as out of touch with the average Frenchman. He denounced the de facto two-party system, in which the Socialist Party and the RPR (later UMP) alternate. Instead, Bayrou called for a pluralist system in which other parties would also contribute.[2]

On 16 May 2006, Bayrou supported a motion of no confidence sponsored by Socialist deputies calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin's government following the Clearstream affair.[3] As de Villepin's UMP had an absolute majority in the National Assembly, the motion failed. Following Bayrou's support for this measure, France's television authority classified him as a member of the parliamentary opposition for timing purposes. However, after Bayrou protested, he was classified as a member of neither the majority nor the opposition.

Second presidential campaign : 2007[edit]

Bayrou contested the presidency again in 2007. Most commentators had expected the election to be fought primarily between Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal of the Parti Socialiste. However, Bayrou's increasing support in polls in February complicated the "Sarko-Ségo" scenario, and led to speculation that the Parti Socialiste candidate would fail to progress to the second round for a second consecutive election, following the defeat of former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin in 2002 by National Front leader Jean Marie Le Pen. Ultimately, Bayrou finished in third place in the election with 18.57% of the vote (6,820,119 votes), behind Sarkozy and Royal, the best performance by the UDF in a Presidential election since 1981. Bayrou declared that he could not endorse either Sarkozy or Royal in the second round, although he indicated that Sarkozy was the worse of the two.

Foundation of the Democratic Movement : 2007–2012[edit]

After the 2007 election, Bayrou announced his intention to form a new centrist party, the Democratic Movement (MoDem). The majority of UDF politicians did not follow him, and instead formed a rival party, the New Centre, which pledged to support an alliance with the UMP. However, most of the UDF's grassroots membership remained with Bayrou and joined MoDem. In the subsequent legislative elections in June 2007, MoDem came third with 7.6% of the vote. Although an increase on the UDF share of the poll of 4.9% in the 2002 elections, MoDem won only four seats, including Bayrou's own seat. The other parliamentarians elected on the party's list were Jean Lasalle, Thierry Benoit (who has since left the party, to join the New Centre) and Abdoulatifou Aly. The establishment of MoDem led to the formal dismantling of the UDF alliance on 30 November.

Third presidential election : 2012[edit]

François Bayrou at a meeting in Marseille

18 August 2011, Bayrou released a book, 2012. Etat d'urgence, in which he discussed how and why the economic crisis happened, and outlined the top priorities of his next presidential program: production and education.

Francois Bayrou confirmed his candidacy for the 2012 presidential election on 25 November 2011, in an interview with journalist Laurence Ferrari on her show Parole Directe (TF1).[4]

His supporters included:

Bayrou was eliminated in the first round, receiving around half of his vote share from 2007, and announced that he would be voting for Francois Hollande in the run-off.[9]

2017 presidential election[edit]

On 22 February 2017, Bayrou announced that he would not contest the 2017 presidential election, instead endorsing the centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron of En Marche!.[10] The alliance surprised French political pundits and rival candidates.[10] Part of the agreement was Macron's commitment to support a clean government law proposed by Bayrou.[10] Bayrou said that France was "at extreme risk", requiring an "exceptional response",[10] adding that the alliance did not mean that MoDem would be subsumed by En Marche![10]

Political views[edit]

François Bayrou in Strasbourg in 2007

François Bayrou has been a vocal campaigner on a variety of issues, including reform of the political process, civil liberties, and free software (see DADVSI). During the 2007 presidential election campaign he described the European Union as "the most beautiful construction of all humanity".[11] He called for France to play a greater role in the European Union's affairs, and supports the ratification of a European Constitution, in a more concise and readable form than the one voted down by the French electorate in 2005.[12]

In an interview with The New York Times in 2007, Bayrou said: "I am a democrat, I am a Clintonian, I am a man of the 'third way'".[13] He positioned himself as a centrist, although he has historic ties to the right. His platform emphasises job creation, improvement of educational standards, improved conditions in the troubled suburbs, reduced government spending, a balanced budget and a stronger European Union, with France as its de facto leader. He has also criticized China's protection of the Sudanese government from UN Security Council sanctions. Bayrou was highly critical of the American economic model under George Bush and of the unregulated free market in general. He described the United States economic model as a "survival of the fittest" system, where it was often stated that money was people's only motivation, where higher education was too expensive, and where the middle class was shrinking.[13] Bayrou criticized the Iraq war, saying it was "the cause of chaos" in the region.[13]

François Bayrou in 2009

He criticized Nicolas Sarkozy's foreign policy, including the invitation of Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi for a week-long state visit to France and the signing of military cooperation agreements with Libya.

In 2009, he criticized statements by Pope Benedict XVI claiming that condoms promote AIDS. Bayrou called the remarks "unacceptable," adding that "the primary responsibility, particularly of Christians, is the defence of life...This is a continent in which tens of millions of women and men are dying."[14]

He called for France to boycott the 2008 Summer Olympics, due to the poor human rights record in China and political unrest in Tibet. During a rally in Paris on 21 March he said that "if this drama does not stop, France would do itself credit by not coming to the Olympic Games", criticising China's opposition to sanctions against Sudan over its involvement in the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.[15]

Governmental functions[edit]

Minister of National Education: 1993–1995.

Minister of National Education, Higher education and Research: 1995–1997.

Electoral mandates

European Parliament

Member of European Parliament: 1999–2002 (Reelected member in the National Assembly of France in 2002)

National Assembly of France

Member of the National Assembly of France for the Pyrénées-Atlantiques' 2nd constituency: 1986–1993 (Became minister in 1993) / 1997–1999 (Became member of European Parliament in 1999) / 2002–2012. Elected in 1986, reelected in 1988, 1993, 1997, 2002, 2007. He lost his seat on 17 June 2012.

General Council

President of the General Council of Pyrénées-Atlantiques: 1992–2001. Reelected in 1994, 1998.

General councillor of Pyrénées-Atlantiques: 1982–2008. Reelected in 1988, 1994, 2001.

Municipal Council

Mayor of Pau : since April 2014.

Municipal councillor of Pau, Pyrénées-Atlantiques: 1983–1993 (Resignation) / Since 2008. Reelected in 1989, 2008, 2014.

Political functions

President of the Union for French Democracy: 1998–2007.

President of the Democratic Movement: Since 2007.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kramer, Jane. "Round One", The New Yorker, 23 April 2007.
  2. ^ "Site officiel du Mouvement Démocrate – MoDem". Udf.org. Retrieved 13 June 2010. 
  3. ^ "ANALYSE DU SCRUTIN N° 978 – Séance du 16 mai 2006". Assemblee-nationale.fr. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "Parole Directe-Bayrou annonce sa candidature pour la présidentielle 2012". 25 November 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  5. ^ "Arthuis: "Un seul candidat pour la famille centriste!"". 1 December 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  6. ^ "Bernard Bosson annonce son soutien au candidat Bayrou pour la Présidentielle". 30 June 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  7. ^ "Idrac : "Bayrou est le centriste authentique"". 17 September 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  8. ^ "Jean-François Kahn soutiendra à nouveau Bayrou à la présidentielle". 4 December 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  9. ^ "France Centrist Bayrou's tactical game in supporting Hollande". France 24. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c d e Kim Willsher, French elections: Emmanuel Macron and François Bayrou form alliance, The Guardian (22 February 2017).
  11. ^ Wall Street Journal, 23 February 2007
  12. ^ "François Bayrou: "L'Europe, c'est pas fait pour être mini"". Euronews. 
  13. ^ a b c Sciolino, Elaine. "A 'Neither/Nor' Candidate for President Alters the French Political Landscape", The New York Times (8 March 2007)
  14. ^ "Le Parisien article". Le Parisien. 19 March 2009. Retrieved 13 June 2010. 
  15. ^ "Reuters AlertNet – Call for Olympic boycott stirs up pre-poll France". Alertnet.org. 22 March 2007. Retrieved 13 June 2010. 

Bibliography[edit]

Bayrou is the sole author unless other names are mentioned.

  • La Décennie des mal-appris. [Paris]: Flammarion. 1990. ISBN 2-08-066472-7. , subject(s): Enseignement—Réforme—France—1970–, Éducation et État—France—1970–.
  • Le roi libre. [Paris]: Flammarion. 1994. ISBN 2-08-066821-8.  le Grand livre du mois 1994, subject(s): Henri IV (roi de France ; 1553–1610) – Biographies, France—1589–1610 (Henri IV).
  • Le roi libre. Paris: France loisirs. 1995. ISBN 2-7242-8944-7. 
  • Letamendia, Pierre (1995). Le Mouvement républicain populaire : le MRP : histoire d'un grand parti français. Paris: Beauchesne. ISBN 2-7010-1327-5. , preface by François Bayrou.
  • Le droit au sens. Paris: Flammarion. 1996. ISBN 2-08-067204-5. , le Grand livre du mois 1996, subject(s): Politique et éducation—France—1990–, France—Conditions sociales—1981–.
  • Gelly, Violaine (1996). François Bayrou : portrait. [Étrépilly]: Bartillat. ISBN 2-84100-048-6. 
  • Le roi libre. Paris: Éd. J'ai lu. 1996. ISBN 2-277-24183-0. , series: J'ai lu 4183.
  • Michelland, Antoine; Séguy, Philippe (1996). François Bayrou : "et si la Providence veut". Monaco ; [Paris]: Éd. du Rocher. ISBN 2-268-02400-8. 
  • France. Ministère de l'éducation nationale, de l'enseignement supérieur et de la recherche (1995–1997) (c. 1996). Les États généraux de l'Université. Paris: ONISEP. , preface by François Bayrou.
  • France. Ministère de l'éducation nationale, de l'enseignement supérieur et de la recherche (1995–1997) (1996). Les États généraux de l'Université : intervention de François Bayrou, ministre de l'éducation nationale, de l'enseignement supérieur et de la recherche, Grand amphithéâtre de la Sorbonne, 18 juin 1996. [Paris]: [Ministère de l'éducation nationale, de l'enseignement supérieur et de la recherche]. 
  • Saint-louis. [Paris]: Flammarion. 1997. ISBN 2-08-067208-8. 
  • Henri IV. [Paris]: Perrin jeunesse. 1998. ISBN 2-262-01301-2. , subject(s): Henri IV (roi de France ; 1553–1610 ) – Ouvrages pour la jeunesse.
  • Ils portaient l'écharpe blanche : l'aventure des premiers réformés, des Guerres de religion à l'édit de Nantes, de la Révocation à la Révolution. Paris: B. Grasset. 1998. ISBN 2-246-55981-2. 
  • Henri IV : le roi libre. [Paris]: Flammarion. ISBN 2-08-067725-X. , le Grand livre du mois 1999.
  • Bayrou, François; Pierre-Brossolette, Sylvie (1999). Hors des sentiers battus : entretiens avec Sylvie Pierre-Brossolette. Paris: Hachette littératures. ISBN 2-01-235258-8. 
  • Ils portaient l'écharpe blanche : l'aventure des premiers réformés, des Guerres de religion à l'édit de Nantes, de la Révocation à la Révolution. Paris: Librairie générale française. 2000. ISBN 2-253-14779-6. , series: Le livre de poche 14779.
  • Chaline, Nadine-Josette (2000). Jean Lecanuet. Paris: Beauchesne. ISBN 2-7010-1405-0. , "témoignages de François Bayrou et de Dominique Baudis", series: Politiques & chrétiens 16.
  • François Bayrou, Qui êtes-vous ? Que proposez-vous ?. [Paris]: Archipel. 2001. ISBN 2-84187-283-1. , series: L'Info. Citoyenne.
  • Relève. [Paris]: Grasset. 2001. ISBN 2-246-61821-5. 
  • Oui : Plaidoyer pour la Constitution européenne. [Paris]: Plon. 2005. ISBN 2-259-20183-0. 
  • Au nom du Tiers-État. [Paris]: Hachette. October 2006. ISBN 2-01-237250-3. 
  • Projet d'Espoir. [Paris]: Plon. March 2007. ISBN 2-259-20162-8. 
  • Abus de pouvoir, [Paris] Plon, 2009 ISBN 978-2-259-20876-5
  • 2012, Etat d'urgence, [Paris] Plon, 2011 ISBN 978-2-259-21661-6

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Jack Lang
Minister of National Education
1993–1997
Succeeded by
Claude Allègre
Preceded by
Jean-Jacques Urvoas
Minister of Justice
2017–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
François Léotard
Leader of the Union for French Democracy
1998–2007
Position abolished
New office Leader of the Democratic Movement
2007–present
Incumbent