Jean-Pierre Raffarin

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Jean-Pierre Raffarin

Jean-Pierre Raffarin Template:Audio (born August 3, 1948) is a French conservative politician.

Jean-Pierre Raffarin served as the Prime Minister of France from May 6, 2002 to May 31, 2005, resigning after France's rejection of the referendum on the European Union draft constitution. However, after Mr Raffarin resigned, he said his decision was not based on the outcome of the vote. Opinion polls following his resignation suggested that Mr Raffarin was one of France's most unpopular prime ministers since the Fifth Republic was set up in 1958.

He was born in Poitiers. He studied law at the University of Paris II Panthéon-Assas and later graduated from the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris business school. He was named by President Jacques Chirac after the latter's re-election as President in the 2002 presidential election.

His political policies combine authority and moderate economical liberalism. In 2003, he launched the 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 more than 13,000 people. The perceived late reaction of the government was blamed on his administration. In 2004 he begun the reform of the French state-run health-care system.

On March 28, 2004, the ruling UMP party suffered an important defeat during the regional elections, with all but one régions 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 March 30, 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 First Government

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

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.

Raffarin's Second Government

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

Minor changes

29 November 2004 - Nicolas Sarkozy left to be the president of the UMP. Thus there was a reshuffle.

25 February 2005 - following a scandal forcing Hervé Gaymard resignation.


  • 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". [1] ( [2] (

Foreign Affairs being by the consitution one of the President solely responsabilities, it is safe to assume that these remarks were made at the President's demand.


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").

See also

External links


Preceded by:
Alain Madelin
Minister of Small and Medium-sized Companies, Commerce, and Craft Industry
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Lionel Jospin
Prime Minister of France
Succeeded by:
Dominique de Villepin

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