Manuel Valls

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This article is about the French politician. For the Spanish composer, see Manuel Valls (composer).
Manuel Valls
Valls Toulouse 2012.JPG
Prime Minister of France
Assumed office
1 April 2014
President François Hollande
Preceded by Jean-Marc Ayrault
Minister of the Interior
In office
16 May 2012 – 1 April 2014
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault
Preceded by Claude Guéant
Succeeded by Bernard Cazeneuve
Mayor of Évry
In office
18 March 2001 – 24 May 2012
Preceded by Christian Olivier
Succeeded by Francis Chouat
Member of the National Assembly
from Essonne's 1st district
Assumed office
19 June 2002
Preceded by Jacques Guyard
Personal details
Born Manuel Carlos Valls Galfetti
(1962-08-13) 13 August 1962 (age 52)
Barcelona, Spain
Political party Socialist Party
Spouse(s) Nathalie Soulié (Divorced)
Anne Gravoin (2010–present)
Children 4
Residence Hôtel Matignon
Alma mater Pantheon-Sorbonne University

Manuel Carlos Valls Galfetti (French: [ma.nɥɛl vals], Catalan pronunciation: [mənuˈɛɫ ˈβaʎs]; born 13 August 1962) is a Spanish-born French politician who has been the Prime Minister of France since 31 March 2014. He was the Minister of the Interior from 2012 to 2014. He is a member of the Socialist Party.

Born in Barcelona to a Spanish father and a Swiss mother, Valls was Mayor of Évry from 2001 to 2012 and was first elected to the National Assembly of France in 2002. He is regarded as belonging to the Socialist Party's social liberal wing, sharing common orientations with Scandinavian-style social democracy and Blairism.

Early life and family[edit]

Valls' paternal grandfather was the editor-in-chief of a Catholic Republican newspaper in Spain. During the Spanish Civil War he sheltered priests who were persecuted by Trotskyists and anarchists.[1] After Francisco Franco's victory, he was forced out of his job as editor. Valls' father was the Barcelona-born (Catalan) painter Xavier Valls (1923–2006).[2][3] In the late 1940s, he moved to Paris and met his future wife, Luisangela Galfetti, a Ticino-born Swiss citizen and the sister of architect Aurelio Galfetti. He won in 1955 the prize for best still life in the third Spanish-American Art Biennial inaugurated by Franco.[4] He was also the second cousin to Manuel Valls Gorina, who composed Cant del Barça, the Catalan anthem for FC Barcelona. Valls was born in Barcelona and lived there until he moved to France as a teenager.

Political career[edit]

In 1980, at the age of 17, Valls joined the French Socialist Party (PS) to support Michel Rocard. Within the PS, he defended the 'Second left' (La Deuxième gauche), rather than the more pragmatic left of François Mitterrand. (The Second left could be compared to the 1960s 'New Left' – opposed to party lines and bureaucracy, anti-statist, supportive of anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist movements worldwide, favoring direct action politics.) While studying history at the Pantheon-Sorbonne University, Tolbiac campus, he was a member of the UNEF-ID, a progressive student union. In 1980, he met two other student supporters of Rocard with whom he became close friends: Alain Bauer (Bauer is the godfather of Valls' second son), and Stéphane Fouks.[5][6][7]

Between 1983-86 Valls was a parliamentary attaché for the member for Ardeche, Robert Chapuis. In 1986 he was elected to the regional Council for the Ile-de-France and served until 1992. In 1988, he succeeded Henri Kaminska as head of the Socialist Party in Argenteuil-Bezons and deputy mayor. From 1988-91 he was responsible for function of the Prime Minister's Cabinet. From 1991-93 he was an inter-ministerial delegate to the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville. In 1995, he became the Secretary of Communications for the national Socialist Party and in 1997 responsible for communications and media relations for the Prime Minister's Cabinet. In 1998 he was elected vice president of the regional Council for the Ile-de-France which he held until 2002. While vice president of the regional Council, he was also elected as mayor of Évry in 2001, until 2012. In 2002, he became the Deputy for the First Electoral District in Essonne and in 2008, the President of the tri-city jurisdiction Évry-Centre-Essonne.[8]

In the 2008 elections to choose the head of the Socialist Party, Valls supported the former presidential candidate Ségolène Royal over her former civil-union partner François Hollande, who eventually won. The election results were controversial. There were irregularities and claims of electoral fraud in the strongholds of North and Seine-Maritime, which favored the candidate Martine Aubry.

On 13 June 2009, Manuel Valls announced his intention to run for the Socialist Presidential Primary in 2011 for the 2012 election. On 30 June 2009 he founded a political organization with the slogan "The Left Needs Optimism," to provide legal and financial support the Socialist Primary candidates.[9] On 7 June 2011, he confirmed his candidacy for the Socialist primary.

On the evening of the first primary round, 9 October 2011, Manuel Valls achieved only 6% of the vote, just behind Ségolène Royal. He was therefore eliminated. On the night of his defeat, he endorsed François Hollande for the second round.

During the 2012 presidential election, he was the communications director of the PS nominee François Hollande, becoming one of the pillars of the campaign team.

Valls was appointed Minister of the Interior in the Ayrault Cabinet in May 2012.

Prime Minister[edit]

In March 2014, following major losses to centre-right and extreme-right political parties in French municipal elections, President Francois Hollande appointed Valls to the post of Prime Minister. He replaced Jean-Marc Ayrault who had resigned earlier that day.[10][11] The Valls Cabinet was formed on 2 April 2014, consisting of 16 ministers from the Socialist Party and one minister from the Radical Party of the Left.

Political beliefs[edit]

He is classified as being on the "right wing" of the Socialist Party, with a similar approach to the German and Dutch Social Democratic Parties. During the 2011 presidential primary, he defined himself as "Blairiste" or "Clintonien", and described his position as "in the tradition of Pierre Mendes France, Lionel Jospin and Michel Rocard". As prime minister he openly said that he liked the comparison with the new Italian premier, Matteo Renzi, another thirdway-er.[12][13]

He advocates an "economically realistic" political speech without any "demagoguery". He voices his dissent in the party by his vision of individual responsibilities ("The new hope that the Left must carry is individual self-realization: to allow everyone to become what which he [she] is"[14]) and his positions against a system where some people live only from national solidarity. Describing himself as "reformist rather than revolutionary," he wants to "reconcile the left to the liberal approach".[13][15]


In his book To Put the Old Socialism to Rest ... And Finally be Left-Wing, he declared support for immigration "quotas".[16]

On Sunday 9 June 2009, while visiting a market in Évry, of which he was then mayor, he was caught on camera suggesting that the presence of more white people would give a better image of the city.[17]

In October 2013, his stance in the highly controversial Dibrani case met with high approval by public opinion, with a global approval rate of 74% (57% approval rate from the left, and 89% from the right, even though the government and Parliament are mostly Socialist).[18]

Retirement age[edit]

Valls supported the extension of the years of required pension-contribution to 41, as advocated and achieved by the Sarkozy administration. The extension means that due to the maximum mandatory retirement age of 62, only immigrants receiving the right to legally work around the age of 21 would be allowed to receive the pension to which they would have contributed throughout their careers. "The role of the Left is not to deny democratic changes, nor to hide the size of deficits ... The Left can advocate an à la carte pension system and increasing the pay-in period."[19]

Views on religion[edit]

In 2002, as mayor of Évry, he opposed a branch of the national grocery store chain Franprix, located in a predominately Muslim neighborhood, deciding to sell only halal-certified meat/products and products that do not contain alcohol.[20] As parliamentarian and interior minister, he took strong stances on secularism, supported crackdowns on the wearing of niqābs in public and defended a nursery which sacked an employee for demanding to wear one at work. He has also had harsh words for anti-gay marriage protesters.[21]

When Catholics protested against "Golgota Picnic", Valls supported the theatre director in the name of freedom of speech.[22] When Dieudonné's quenelle gesture became viral in 2013, Valls said he would consider "all legal means" to ban Dieudonné's "public meetings", given that he "addresses in an obvious and insufferable manner the memory of victims of the Shoah."[23]


On 12 October 2009, Manuel Valls expressed "total disagreement" with the proposed decriminalization or legalization of cannabis proposed by Daniel Vaillant, whose plan involved depriving traffickers of a source of income. Valls argued that: "The question of drugs that produce considerable damage in some neighbourhoods and nourish the underground economy, cannot be handled this way. There is a certain number of rules that cannot be removed."[24]

Political offices[edit]

Governmental functions

  • Prime Minister: Since 31 March 2014
  • Minister of Interior: May 2012 to March 2014

Elected offices

  • Member of the National Assembly of France for Essonne (1st constituency) : 2002–2012 (Became minister in May). Elected in 2002, reelected in 2007.
  • Vice-president of the Regional Council of Île-de-France : 1998–2002 (Resignation).
  • Regional councillor of Île-de-France: 1986–2002 (Resignation).
  • Mayor of Évry : 2001–2012 (Resignation). Reelected in 2008.
  • Municipal councillor of Évry : Since 2001. Reelected in 2008.
  • Deputy-mayor of Argenteuil : 1989–1998 (Resignation).
  • Municipal councillor of Argenteuil : 1989–1998 (Resignation).

Personal life[edit]

In 1987, Valls married Nathalie Soulié, with whom he had 4 children before divorcing. On 1 July 2010, he married[25] Anne Gravoin, a violinist and winner of the Conservatoire de Paris' prestigious Premier Prix for Violin and Chamber Orchestra.[26][27] Due to his family background, Manuel Valls is fluent in French, Spanish, Catalan and Italian.[28]


  • Les habits neufs de la gauche, éditions Robert Laffont, 2006
  • La laïcité en face, a dialog with Virginie Malabard, Éditions Desclée de Brouwer, 2005
  • Pour en finir avec le vieux socialisme... et être enfin de gauche, a dialog with Claude Askolovitch, Robert Laffont, 2008


  1. ^ (French) L'homme qui veut être le Sarko de la gauche, Le Point, no. 1820, 2 August 2007, pp.24–27.
  2. ^ (French) Biographie de Xavier Valls on website
  3. ^ (Spanish) Ana María Preckler, Historia del arte universal de los siglos XIX y XX, Editorial Complutense, 2003, vol. II, p. 509, ISBN 9788474917079.
  4. ^ Ratier, Emmanuel (2014). "Emmanuel Ratier répond aux menteurs de Canal+" (in French). E&R. Retrieved 29 May 2014. 
  5. ^ (French) Passeur Fraysse, Bertrand. Challenges. 29 November 2007.
  6. ^ (French) Alain Bauer Tchakaloff, Gaël. Le Nouvel économiste no. 1292. vol. 4. 10 March 2005.
  7. ^ (French) « Alain Bauer » Ratier, Emmanuel. L'écrivain nationaliste: Faits & documents. no. 98. vol 15. 30 October 2000., describes the relationship between the two men, and the work of Nathalie Soulié, Valls ex-wife as the secretary for AB Associates, a personal security company founded by Bauer between 1994-97.
  8. ^ "Archives Manuel Valls — mai 2012 - avril 2014 / Archives — Ministère de l'Intérieur" (in French). Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  9. ^ (French) Manuel Valls fait son one man show[dead link], Gala Magazine, 30 June 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2013
  10. ^ "French President Hollande names Valls as new PM". 2014-03-31. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  11. ^ "Manuel Valls nommé Premier ministre "de combat"". 2014-03-31. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  12. ^ Frédéric Martel. "Sarkozy/Berlusconi, Valls/Renzi : l'Italie, nouveau modèle de la vie politique française ? | France info" (in French). Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  13. ^ a b "Manuel Valls aime bien qu'on le compare à Matteo Renzi, beaucoup moins à Napoléon". 2014-08-15. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  14. ^ Retraites : Valls appelle à un "pacte national"
  15. ^ (French) Manuel Valls se verrait bien candidat en 2012[dead link], Libération, 24 April 2008.
  16. ^ (French) Michel Urvoy, Valls, le social-réaliste qui secoue le PS[dead link], Ouest-France, 6 May 2008.
  17. ^ Megahigh (2013-08-29). "Manuel Valls Raciste Anti Noir". Youtube. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  18. ^ "Opinion poll on "Les Français et l’affaire Leonarda"" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  19. ^ Ira, Kumaran and Lantier, Alex. After French regional election victory: Socialist Party leaders call for austerity policies World Socialist Web Site. 2 April 2010. Retrieved 24 February 2013
  20. ^ "A Evry, le maire contre le Franprix halal". Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  21. ^ Stéphanie Le Bars, «Manuel Valls, partisan d'une « laïcité exigeante », Le Monde, Template:1er avril 2014
  22. ^ Eric Martin (2014-01-10). "VIDÉO | Quand Valls défendait la liberté d’expression... à propos de Golgota Picnic, une pièce de théâtre antichrétienne | Nouvelles de France Portail libéral-conservateur". Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  23. ^ "France to ban 'anti-Semitic' comedian". Radio France Internationale. 27 December 2013. 
  24. ^ "Cannabis : Valls en "désaccord total" avec la proposition de Vaillant". Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  25. ^ (French) Manuel Valls va se marier en juillet, Le Nouvel Observateur, 10 January 2010.
  26. ^ (French) La table de chevet de... Manuel Valls, Les Échos, nb60, 15 February 2008, p.50.
  27. ^ (French) Manuel Valls ouvre les fenêtres de la musique, Radio classique, 16 May 2008.
  28. ^ (French) qu'il faut savoir de Manuel Valls,, 16 May 2012.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Claude Guéant
Minister of the Interior
Succeeded by
Bernard Cazeneuve
Preceded by
Jean-Marc Ayrault
Prime Minister of France
Order of precedence
Preceded by
François Hollande
as President
Order of Precedence of France
as Prime Minister
Succeeded by
Gérard Larcher
as President of the Senate