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Madelin, a strong supporter of laissez-faire economics, was a candidate in the 2002 French presidential election as the leader of the Démocratie Libérale party, where he scored 3.91% on the first round. Following the election, he became a member of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).
He was minister of Industry in Prime Minister Jacques Chirac's cabinet from 1986 to 1988, a minister of Business in Prime Minister Édouard Balladur's cabinet from 1993 to 1995, and a minister of Economy and Finances in Prime Minister Alain Juppé's cabinet. He resigned after only four months, citing economic policy differences with Alain Juppé.
He was a member of the National Assembly from 1978 to 2007 as representative for Ille-et-Vilaine's fourth circumscription. The district includes the town of Redon, where he was mayor from 1995 until 2001.
Madelin unsuccessfully ran in 1996 for president of the Union for French Democracy (UDF), and was defeated by François Léotard. He was elected as leader of the Parti Républicain, a part of the UDF coalition, which he renamed Démocratie Libérale. In 1998, Démocratie Libérale split from the UDF. Madelin's obtained slightly less than 4% of the vote in the 2002 presidential election and merged his party into the UMP. After 2002, although his former supporter Jean-Pierre Raffarin became Prime minister, and as a result of the end of Démocratie Libérale, Madelin's influence in French national politics dwindled.
Madelin is the French major politician the most in favor of the international policies of the United States, and supported the United States-led 2003 invasion of Iraq. Because of this, he has, in the past, generally been considered with favor by the US press.
In July 2005, Alain Madelin rumors reported in the Canard Enchaîné stated that he would run for the OCDE and that he would be supported by both Jacques Chirac (who allegedly wanted to get rid of him) and George W. Bush (since Madelin is traditionally France's important politician closest to the United States). He did not run and Angel Gurria of Mexico was chosen.
Alain Madelin did not seek reelection in the 2007 elections, ending his involvement in partisan politics.
Minister of Industry and Tourism : 1986–1988.
Minister of Enterprise and Economic Development, small and medium enterprises, Trade and Crafts : 1993–1995.
Minister of Economy and Finance : May–August 1995 (Resignation).
Member of European Parliament: June–November 1989 (Resignation) / 1999–2002 (Resignation). Elected in 1989, reelected in 1999.
National Assembly of France
Member of the National Assembly of France for Ille-et-Vilaine : 1978–1986 (Became minister in 1986) / 1988–1993 (Became minister in 1993) / 1995–2007. Elected in 1978, reelected in 1981, 1986, 1988, 1993, 1997, 2002.
Vice-president of the Regional Council of Brittany: 1992–1998.
Regional councillor of Brittany: 1986–1998. Reelected in 1992.
General councillor of Ille-et-Vilaine: 1994–1995 (Resignation).
Mayor of Redon: 1995–2001.
Municipal councillor of Redon : 1995–2001.
President of Liberal Democracy (France): 1997–2002.
Vice-president of the Union for French Democracy: 1991–1996.
Vice-president of the Republican Party (France): 1986–1997.
- Alain Madelin official site