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Charles Pasqua (born 18 April 1927) is a French businessman and Gaullist politician. He was Interior Minister from 1986 to 1988, under Jacques Chirac's cohabitation government, and also from 1993 to 1995, under the government of Edouard Balladur.
Life and political career
With Jacques Foccart, he helped create the Service d'Action Civique (SAC) in 1959 to counter the terrorist actions of the OAS during the Algerian War of Independence (1954–1962). The SAC would be charged with the underground actions of the Gaullist movement and participated in the organization of the 30 May 1968 Gaullist counter-demonstration; it was officially dissolved by President Mitterrand in 1982, after the "Auriol massacre" on the night of 18 July 1981 (the five members of the Auriol commando were condemned on 1 May 1985 to sentences between 15 years of prison and life-sentences; however, the mastermind behind inspector Massié's murder was never identified).
From 1968 to 1973, he was deputy to the French National Assembly for the Hauts-de-Seine département for the UDR party, of which he was a leading member from 1974 to 1976. He helped Jacques Chirac to take the lead of the party and participated in its transformation into the Rally for the Republic (RPR). Counsellor of Jacques Chirac alongside Marie-France Garaud, he was in charge of the organisation of Chirac's campaign for the 1981 presidential election, won by the candidate of the Socialist Party (PS), François Mitterrand (1981–1995). As such, he is considered to be Chirac's mentor in politics.
From 1981 to 1986 he was senator for the Hauts-de-Seine, then president of the RPR group in the Senate.
From 1986 to 1988 he was Interior Minister (in charge of law enforcement). The left-wing opposition claimed, in vain, his resignation after the murder of Malik Oussekine by police, during the demonstration of young against the Devaquet law. He incarnated the "hard wing" of the Neo-Gaullist party, and tried to stop the flight of the RPR voters towards the National Front.
After Chirac's defeat at the 1988 presidential election, he criticized the abandonment of the Gaullist doctrine and the so moderate positions of the RPR. In 1990, he allied with Philippe Séguin and disputed Chirac's leadership. In 1992, he called a vote against the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty.
He became Interior Minister again from 1993 to 1995, and supported the candidacy of Edouard Balladur at the 1995 presidential election. He is mostly remembered for having pushed a series of anti-immigration laws (lois Pasqua), and for his declaration "we will terrorize the terrorists." He expelled CIA agents on charges of economic espionage.
Pasqua distanced himself in 1998 from RPR and Jacques Chirac, arguing that Chirac was not a true heir of Gaullism. He then headed the Rally for France (RPF), a sovereigntist (Eurosceptic) party, for a while in association with Philippe de Villiers. At the 1999 European Parliament election, their list got ahead of the RPR list. President of the General Council of the Hauts-de-Seine from 1988 to 2004, he broke with de Villiers after his success at these elections, arriving second after the Socialist Party.
In 2002 he ran for president, but dropped out after allegedly failing to obtain the 500 representatives' signatures needed to enter the race. Many suspect that he decided not to run because Jean-Marie Le Pen's presence in the election did not leave him enough political space.
In 2003 he was elected a deputy to the European parliament. In 2004, he was elected senator by an electoral college. Many commentators alleged that this senate position, granting parliamentary immunity, was motivated by prosecution closing on Pasqua with respect to corruption practices in the Hauts-de-Seine département.
Charles Pasqua did not run in the 2007 presidential election.
Pasqua has been involved in various political scandals, including the Angolagate arms trafficking scandal, the Sofremi affair, the Annemasse casino affair, another affair concerning the moving of the headquarters of Alstom company, as well as the Fondation Hamon affair:
He was named in corruption scandals concerning the public housing projects of the Hauts-de-Seine.
Following the publication of the Al Mada article, a US Senate report accused him, along with the British Respect MP, George Galloway, of receiving the right to buy oil under the UN's oil-for-food scheme. Pasqua denied the charges and pointed out that he never met Saddam Hussein, never been to Iraq and never cultivated any political ties with that country. In a lengthy written rebuttal to the Senate report, Charles Pasqua pointed out further that since the oil vouchers were lifted by a legal entity incorporated in a European country, it should be relatively easy for investigators to uncover the masterminds behind the fraud instead of making accusations based on "sensational" press articles.
The investigations concerning the Annemasse casino affair and the move to Saint-Ouen of the headquarter of GEC-Alstom's transport subsidiary were closed in February 2007. In the first affair, which dates back to 1994 while he was Interior Minister of Edouard Balladur, Pasqua was suspected of having delivered an administrative authorization to operate a casino in Annemasse to Robert Feliciaggi in exchange for future political funding. Robert Felliciagi was assassinated in March 2006 in Ajaccio, Corsica. He had resold the casino in 1995, making an important profit. In the second affair concerning Alstom, Etienne Léandri, a friend of Pasqua's, reportedly received an illegal commission of 5.2 million Francs (790,000 euros).
Along with André Santini, Pasqua was also the subject of investigations concerning an affair related to the Jean Hamon donation. A wealthy mecene, Jean Hamon, had donated in 2000 to the department of the Hauts-de-Seine 192 works of art, estimated to be worth 192 millions euros. The Hauts-de-Seine, then led by Pasqua, was supposed to create a museum for them in Issy-les-Moulineaux, but the project was abandoned. An investigation was opened in 2003 when a judge based in Versailles asked herself why the Hauts-de-Seine department had paid for the care of these works of art, for a total amount of 800,000 euros, while they were still stored in a castle owned by the billionaire. Since the department continued to pay for a year after Nicolas Sarkozy's take-over of the department's general council, the affair may also involve him. Sarkozy won the 2007 presidential election as the UMP candidate.
Minister of Interior : 1986–1988 Minister of State, minister of Interior and Planning : 1993–1995
Member of European Parliament : 1999–2004. Elected in 1999.
National Assembly of France
Senate of France
President of the group of the Rally for the Republic : 1981–1986 (Became minister) / 1988–1993 (Became minister).
Senator of Hauts-de-Seine : 1977–1986 (Became minister in 1986) / Reelected in 1986, but he stays as minister / 1988–1993 (Became minister in 1993) / 1995–1999 (Became member of European Parliament in 1999) / 2004-2011. Elected in 1977, reelected in 1986, 1988, 1995, 2004.
General councillor of Hauts-de-Seine : 1970–1976 / 1988–2004 (Resignation). Reelected in 1988, 1994, 2001.
President of the General Council of Hauts-de-Seine : 1973–1976 / 1988–2004. Reelected in 1988, 1992, 1994, 1998, 2001.
Municipal councillor of Neuilly-sur-Seine : 1983–2001. Reelected in 1989, 1995.
- "Un beau travail d'action civique", in Le Canard Enchaîné #4441, 7 December 2005
- CIA 1995–1996 Economic Espionage in France (English)
- Angolagate : un an de prison ferme pour Charles Pasqua, in Le Figaro, 27 October 2009 (French)
- Pasqua : l'étau se resserre, L'Humanité, 21 February 2007 (French)
- Libération, 29 January 2007, "Sarkozy exposé dans une affaire de musée fantôme" available here
- Official page as senator
- US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, 12 May 2005, "Report on oil allocations granted to Charles Pasqua & George Galloway"
- Interior Minister Pasqua embodies nation's social divide San Francisco chronicle 21 April 1995 Extract: Pasqua, by contrast, moved from the college of beachcombing to a graduate school degree in peddling booze.
|Minister of the Interior
|Minister of the Interior