François Bayrou


François Bayrou

Infobox Politician
name = François Bayrou


imagesize = 200px
birth_date = birth date and age|1951|05|25
birth_place = Bordères, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France
office = 1st President of the Democratic Movement
term_start = 30 November 2007
term_end =
predecessor = None - Party created
successor2 = None - Party merged within the Democratic Movement
office2 = 4th President of the Union for French Democracy
term_start2 = 25 February 1998
term_end2 = 30 November 2007
predecessor2 = François Léotard
successor2 = None - Party merged within the Democratic Movement
office3 = Minister of National Education
term_start3 = 29 March 1993
term_end3 = 4 June 1997
primeminister3 = Édouard Balladur and Alain Juppé
predecessor3 = Jack Lang
successor3 = Claude Allègre
occupation = Politician
website = [http://www.bayrou.fr/ www.bayrou.fr]
religion = Roman Catholic
party = MoDem

François Bayrou (IPA2|fʁɑ̃.swa·baj.ʁu, "Francés Vairon" [fran'ses·baj'ru] in Occitan) is a French centerist politician, president of Union for French Democracy since 1998 and was a candidate in the 2002 and 2007 French presidential elections. In the first round, he received 18.6% of votes, finishing in 3rd place and therefore was eliminated from the race. (Only the top two candidates participated in the runoff election, which was held on May 6). [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/france/story/0,,2037076,00.html Tractor-driving 'son of the soil' ruffles election tactics of his French presidential rivals | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited ] ] A former Member of the European Parliament, he also served as Minister of National Education in the conservative governments of Édouard Balladur and Alain Juppé, from 1993 to 1997. On Wednesday April 25, he held a press conference to announce that he would not endorse a candidate in the run-off and planned instead to form a new party called the Democratic Movement. [ [http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-823448,36-901859@51-825418,0.html Le Monde.fr : Page non trouvée ] ]

Early life

François Bayrou was born on May 25, 1951, in Bordères, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, a village located between Pau and Lourdes. He is the eldest son of farmers Calixte Bayrou and Emma Sarthou.

François Bayrou has six children from his first and only marriage (his wife Élisabeth "Babette" was 19 years old at the time of marriage). As of early 2007, the family still lives on the farm in Bayrou's birthplace. Bayrou 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. His father was killed in a tractor accident at that time.

Prior to embarking on his political career, Bayrou taught history in Béarn in the French Pyrenees. [Kramer, Jane. "Round One", "The New Yorker", April 23, 2007.] He is the author of over a dozen books on politics and history [http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/François_Bayrou#.C5.92uvres_et_bibliographie] , including one on King Henry IV of France. François Bayrou's hobby is raising horses. A practising Roman Catholic, he is a fervent supporter of France's system of laïcité.

Political career

François Bayrou rejected the complete merger of the UDF and the RPR to form the UMP. As a consequence, much of the UDF left for the UMP, while the remainder stayed with Bayrou inside UDF.However, UMP governments under Prime Ministers Jean-Pierre Raffarin and Dominique de Villepin have included one UDF minister, Gilles de Robien, an opponent of Bayrou.

François Bayrou has been increasingly critical of the course taken by the UMP-led government, which he deems to be out of touch with the average Frenchman. He denounces the "de facto" two-party system, in which the Socialist Party and the RPR (later UMP) have alternated and, if in the majority, have voted for the laws proposed by the executive. Instead he advocates a system where other voices can be heard. [http://www.udf.org/actualites/actu_site/2006/bayrou_270406.html]

This position, though apparently popular with UDF party activists, is not necessarily well received by other UDF politicians. For instance, the only remaining UDF minister, Gilles de Robien, favors closer alignment with UMP. [http://www.liberation.fr/page.php?Article=340761] [http://www.liberation.fr/page.php?Article=389110]

On May 16, 2006, François Bayrou voted for 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. [http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/12/scrutins/jo0978.asp] (As de Villepin's UMP has 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.

In 2007, Bayrou contested the presidency once again. The possibility of a Bayrou presidency took the French establishment by surprise, which had been expecting the battle to be fought primarily between Sarkozy and Royal, both very personable and media-friendly. The rise of Bayrou's poll numbers in February, however, complicated this "Sarko-Ségo" scenario, and raised the distinct possibility that the Parti Socialiste candidate would be excluded from the second round for a second straight election cycle, following the humiliating defeat of former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin in 2002 at the hands of right wing nationalist Jean Marie Le Pen. Ultimately, Bayrou was unsuccessful in his attempt to make it into the second round of the election, but he won 18.57% of the vote (6,820,119 votes) and came in a clear third behind front-runners Nicolas Sarkozy of the UMP party and Ségolène Royal of the Parti Socialiste. This was the best performance by the UDF in a Presidential election since 1981. Following the first round, Bayrou declared that he could not endorse either Sarkozy nor Royal in the second round, although he did indicate that Sarkozy was the worse of the two choices on offer.

Following his loss, Bayrou announced his intention of forming a new centrist party, the Democratic Movement (MoDem). Only a handful of UDF politicians followed Bayrou; the majority opposing him and setting up a rival party the New Centre party which pledged to support the alliance with the UMP. Most of the UDF's grassroots membership however, did support Bayrou. MoDem was formed only weeks before the June '07 French legislative elections, but managed to capture 7.6% of the vote (the third highest). Despite the fair result, which was higher than the UDF outcome of 4.9% in the 2002 elections, Bayrou's party managed to win only 4 seats, one of which was Bayrou's own seat. This was largely due to France's electoral system of single-member electorates, which favors the two largest parties. The other parliamentarians elected on the party's list were Jean Lasalle, Thierry Benoit (who since then left the party, to join the New Centre) and Abdoulatifou Aly. The creation of MoDem, has led to the formal dismanting of the UDF alliance, on November 30th.

Endorsements

*Azouz Begag, delegate minister of equal opportunities in prime minister Dominique de Villepin's cabinet.cite news|title=A junior minister snubs Sarkozy and endorses centrist|url=http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/03/13/news/france.php|publisher=International Herald Tribune|date=2007-03-13]
*Édouard Fillias, former presidential candidate for Liberal Alternative.
*Corinne Lepage, president of Citizenship, Action, Participation for the XXIst Century (CAP 21), a little environmentalist political party.
*Jean-Luc Bennahmias, Former National Secretary of the French Green Party.

Political views

François Bayrou has taken a strong stand on a variety of issues, including efforts to safeguard the credibility of the political process, personal freedom, and free software (see DADVSI). As French Presidential candidate he has described the EU as “the most beautiful construction of all humanity” (WSJ, 23 February 2007). He declared himself in favor of France taking a greater role in the European Union's affairs. He 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. [cite web |url=http://www.euronews.net/index.php?page=interview&article=410650&lng=2 |title=François Bayrou: "L'Europe, c'est pas fait pour être mini" |publisher=Euronews]

Bayrou was recently profiled in the New York Times.Sciolino, Elaine. "A 'Neither/Nor' Candidate for President Alters the French Political Landscape", New York Times (March 8, 2007)] In that article he described himself, saying: "I am a democrat, I am a Clintonian, I am a man of the 'third way'." He positioned himself as a centrist, although he has historic ties to the right, which Royal and the left have tried to emphasize. His platform promotes job formation, 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 against UN Security Council sanctions. In comparison to Sarkozy, Bayrou is highly critical of the American economic model and of strict free market in general. He said the United States has a "survival of the fittest" system where money was people's main motivation, where higher education is too expensive, and where the middle class was shrinking.text] Bayrou has criticized the Iraq war, saying it was "the cause of chaos" in the region.

Most recently, he has criticized the foreign policy of Sarkozy, for inviting the Libyan leader Muammar Khaddafi on a week-long state visit to France and signing military cooperation agreements with Libya.

Criticism

Call for Olympic boycott

His call for France to boycott the 2008 Summer Olympics drew criticism at home and internationally. During a rally in Paris, on March 21, he declared: "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. France has never boycotted any Olympics so far. [http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L22161580.htm]

Notes and references

Bibliography

(Bayrou himself is the author unless others are shown.)

*, subject(s): Enseignement -- Réforme -- France -- 1970-, Éducation et État -- France -- 1970-.
* le Grand livre du mois 1994, subject(s): Henri IV (roi de France ; 1553-1610 ) -- Biographies, France -- 1589-1610 (Henri IV).
*

*, preface by François Bayrou.

*, le Grand livre du mois 1996, subject(s): Politique et éducation -- France -- 1990-, France -- Conditions sociales -- 1981-.
*

*, series: J'ai lu 4183.

*

*, preface by François Bayrou.

*

*

*, subject(s): Henri IV (roi de France ; 1553-1610 ) -- Ouvrages pour la jeunesse.
*

*, le Grand livre du mois 1999.
*

*, series: Le livre de poche 14779.
*, "témoignages de François Bayrou et de Dominique Baudis", series: Politiques & chrétiens 16.
*, series: L'Info. Citoyenne.
*

*

*

*

External links

* [http://www.bayrou.fr bayrou.fr - Campaign Website]
* [http://www.lesdemocrates.fr lesdemocrates.fr - Website of Bayrou's party]
* [http://www.france-democrate.fr france-democrate.fr - Website on the Democratic Movement]
* [http://www.youtube.com/bayrou bayrou.fr - Video Channel on YouTube]
* [http://www.bayrouvideo.com/ Video François Bayrou ] (not linked to François Bayrou)
* [http://www.bayroublog.com/ François Bayrou Blog] (not linked to François Bayrou)
* [http://www.mouvementdemocrate.org.uk/ Site du Mouvement Democrate en Grande-Bretagne] (not linked to François Bayrou)


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