Charles Pasqua

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Charles Pasqua
Charles Pasqua.jpg
Minister of the Interior
In office
29 March 1993 – 16 May 1995
Preceded by Paul Quilès
Succeeded by Jean-Louis Debré
In office
20 March 1986 – 10 May 1988
Preceded by Pierre Joxe
Succeeded by Pierre Joxe
Personal details
Born (1927-04-18) 18 April 1927 (age 87)
Grasse, France
Political party Union for a Popular Movement
(2002-present)
Other political
affiliations
Rally of the French People
(1947-1955)
Union for the New Republic
(1958-1968)
Union of Democrats for the Republic
(1968-1976)
Rally for the Republic
(1976-1999)
Rally for France
(1999-2002)
Spouse(s) Jeanne Joly (1947-present)[1]
Children Pierre-Philippe Pasqua (1948-present)
Religion Roman Catholic

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[edit]

Pasqua was born in Grasse, Alpes-Maritimes and has a degree in Law. From 1952 to 1971 he worked for Ricard, a producer of alcoholic beverages (most notably pastis), starting as a salesman.

In 1947, he helped create the section of the Gaullist Party RPF movement for the Alpes-Maritimes.

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).[2]

Charles Pasqua was first elected deputy of the UDR Gaullist party in 1968, ten years after having founded the Service d'Action Civique (SAC) organisation.

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.[3]

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.

Corruption scandals[edit]

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.

In 2004 his name appeared on the list, published by al Mada, of people who allegedly received corruption money from Saddam Hussein's government in Iraq during the course of the Oil-for-Food Program.

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.[4]

The investigations concerning the Annemasse casino affair and the move to Saint-Ouen of the headquarters of GEC-Alstom's transport subsidiary were closed in February 2007.[5] 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.[5] 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).[5]

The Sofremi affair is still under investigation. It concerns monies paid between 1993 to 1995 by the Sofremi, a weapons exporter attached the Ministry of Interior, to people close to Pasqua.[5]

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.[6] Sarkozy won the 2007 presidential election as the UMP candidate.

Political career[edit]

Governmental functions

Minister of Interior : 1986–1988 Minister of State, minister of Interior and Planning : 1993–1995

Electoral mandates

European Parliament

Member of European Parliament : 1999–2004. Elected in 1999.

National Assembly of France

Member of the National Assembly of France for Hauts-de-Seine : 1968–1973.

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 Council

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 Council

Municipal councillor of Neuilly-sur-Seine : 1983–2001. Reelected in 1989, 1995.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jeanne Joly selon le Who's who in France 1985-1986, page 1126. Jeanne Simard selon certains.
  2. ^ "Un beau travail d'action civique", in Le Canard Enchaîné #4441, 7 December 2005
  3. ^ CIA 1995–1996 Economic Espionage in France (English)
  4. ^ Angolagate : un an de prison ferme pour Charles Pasqua, in Le Figaro, 27 October 2009 (French)
  5. ^ a b c d Pasqua : l'étau se resserre, L'Humanité, 21 February 2007 (French)
  6. ^ Libération, 29 January 2007, "Sarkozy exposé dans une affaire de musée fantôme" available here

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Pierre Joxe
Minister of the Interior
1986–1988
Succeeded by
Pierre Joxe
Preceded by
Paul Quilès
Minister of the Interior
1993–1995
Succeeded by
Jean-Louis Debré