François Bayrou in 2012.
|Minister of Justice|
17 May 2017 - 19 June 2017
|Mayor of Pau|
4 April 2014
|Leader of the Democratic Movement|
2 December 2007
|Leader of the Union for French Democracy|
25 February 1998 - 30 November 2007
|Minister of National Education|
29 March 1993 - 4 June 1997
|Born||25 May 1951|
|Political party||Union for French Democracy|
Centre of Social Democrats
Democratic Force (1995-1998)
Democratic Movement (2007-present)
|Alma mater||University Bordeaux Montaigne|
François Bayrou (French pronunciation: [fswa baj?u], born 25 May 1951) is a French centrist politician and the president of the Democratic Movement (MoDem), who was a candidate in the 2002, 2007 and 2012 French presidential elections.
From 1993 to 1997, he was Minister of National Education for three governments. He was also a member of the National Assembly for a seat in Pyrénées-Atlantiques from 1986 to 2012, MEP from 1999 to 2002 and is currently the mayor of Pau since 2014.
It was speculated that Bayrou would be a candidate in the 2017 presidential election, but he decided not to run and instead supported Emmanuel Macron, who - after winning the election - named him Minister of State and Minister of Justice in the Philippe Government. On 21 June 2017, he resigned from the government amid an investigation into MoDem's allegedly fraudulent employment of parliamentary assistants, initiated earlier that month.
François René Jean Lucien Bayrou was born on 25 May 1951 in Bordères, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, a village located between Pau and Lourdes. The son of farmer Calixte Bayrou (1909-1974) and Emma Sarthou (1918-2009). Bayrou descends from an ancestry of primarily Occitans except from his maternal grandmother's side which is Irish.
When Bayrou was in his youth, he suffered from a stutter which led to him attending speech therapy for seven years. He first went to secondary school in Pau, before transferring to Bordeaux. He 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. Around the same time, his father was killed in a tractor accident.
Bayrou was married in 1971 to Élisabeth Perlant also known as "Babette". He and Perlant have five children, Hélène, Marie, Dominique, Calixte and Agnes. The children were raised on the farm where Bayrou was born and Bayrou currently lives there with Perlant.
Prior to embarking on his political career, Bayrou taught history in Béarn in the French Pyrenees. He is the author of several books on politics and history, including one on King Henry IV of France. Bayrou's hobby is raising horses. Although a practising Roman Catholic, he strongly supports France's system of laïcité.
Bayrou, a member of the Centre of Social Democrats (CDS), the Christian-democratic wing of the Union for French Democracy (UDF) confederation, was elected to the General Council of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department in 1982 in the canton of Pau-Sud, then the French National Assembly four years later. After the victory of the RPR/UDF coalition in the 1993 legislative election, he became Education Minister in the cabinet led by Edouard Balladur. In this post, he proposed a reform allowing local authorities to subsidise private schools, which caused massive protests and was quashed by the Constitutional Council.
In 1989, after poor results in both the municipal elections and the European Parliament elections, Bayrou and twelve other centre-right parliamentarians including Philippe Séguin, Michel Noir, Alain Carignon, Étienne Pinte, Michel Barnier, François Fillon, Charles Millon, Dominique Baudis, François d'Aubert, Philippe de Villiers and Bernard Bosson demanded reform of the system at the RPR and the UDF, criticising the most prominent politicians of these parties including former president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing and Prime Minister Jacques Chirac. They called for the formation of a new right-wing party to unite the UDF and the RPR into a single entity. Ideological differences between members of this group led to members leaving, though d'Estaing endorsed Bayrou to become UDF general secretary in 1991.
Despite supporting Édouard Balladur's candidacy in the 1995 presidential election, Bayrou remained Education Minister following Jacques Chirac's election and the formation of a new government headed by Alain Juppé. Following the majority for the Plural Left in the 1997 legislative election, Bayrou returned to opposition and became president of the UDF in 1998, transforming it into a unified party rather than a union of smaller parties.
In 2002 François Bayrou rejected proposals to merge the UDF with the Rally for the Republic (RPR), into a new entity that later became the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP). As a result, many UDF members left to join the UMP.
Bayrou was increasingly critical of the direction taken by the UMP-led government, which he described as out of touch with the average Frenchman. He denounced the de facto two-party system, in which the Socialist Party and the RPR (later UMP) alternate. Instead, Bayrou called for a pluralist system in which other parties would also contribute.
On 16 May 2006, Bayrou supported 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. As de Villepin's UMP had 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.
Bayrou contested the presidency again in 2007. Most commentators had expected the election to be fought primarily between Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal of the Parti Socialiste. However, Bayrou's increasing support in polls in February complicated the "Sarko-Ségo" scenario, and led to speculation that the Parti Socialiste candidate would fail to progress to the second round for a second consecutive election, following the defeat of former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin in 2002 by National Front leader Jean Marie Le Pen. Ultimately, Bayrou finished in third place in the election with 18.57% of the vote (6,820,119 votes), behind Sarkozy and Royal, the best performance by the UDF in a Presidential election since 1981. Bayrou declared that he could not endorse either Sarkozy or Royal in the second round, although he indicated that Sarkozy was the worse of the two.
After the 2007 election, Bayrou announced his intention to form a new centrist party, the Democratic Movement (MoDem). The majority of UDF politicians did not follow him, and instead formed a rival party, the New Centre, which pledged to support an alliance with the UMP. However, most of the UDF's grassroots membership remained with Bayrou and joined MoDem. In the subsequent legislative elections in June 2007, MoDem came third with 7.6% of the vote. Although an increase on the UDF share of the poll of 4.9% in the 2002 elections, MoDem won only four seats, including Bayrou's own seat. The other parliamentarians elected on the party's list were Jean Lasalle, Thierry Benoit (who has since left the party, to join the New Centre) and Abdoulatifou Aly. The establishment of MoDem led to the formal dismantling of the UDF alliance on 30 November.
18 August 2011, Bayrou released a book, 2012. Etat d'urgence, in which he discussed how and why the economic crisis happened, and outlined the top priorities of his next presidential program: production and education.
His supporters included:
On 22 February 2017, Bayrou announced that he would not contest the 2017 presidential election, instead endorsing the centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron of En Marche!. The alliance surprised French political pundits and rival candidates. Part of the agreement was Macron's commitment to support a clean government law proposed by Bayrou. Bayrou said that France was "at extreme risk", requiring an "exceptional response", adding that the alliance did not mean that MoDem would be subsumed by En Marche!
Le Canard enchaîné published information that Democratic Movement politician Marielle de Sarnez had been paid for work she had not actually done, embroiling Bayrou in a fictitious jobs scandal. France Info later reported that MoDem had "over a dozen" fictitious jobs in the European Parliament.
Bayrou resigned several days before the 2017 legislative election, with Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announcing following the election that Bayrou would not be a part of the second Philippe government, only 35 days after he had taken the post.
François Bayrou has been a vocal campaigner on a variety of issues, including reform of the political process, civil liberties, and free software (see DADVSI). During the 2007 presidential election campaign he described the European Union as "the most beautiful construction of all humanity". He called for France to play a greater role in the European Union's affairs, and 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.
In an interview with The New York Times in 2007, Bayrou said: "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. His platform emphasises job creation, improvement of 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 from UN Security Council sanctions. Bayrou was highly critical of the American economic model under George Bush and of the unregulated free market in general. He described the United States economic model as a "survival of the fittest" system, where it was often stated that money was people's only motivation, where higher education was too expensive, and where the middle class was shrinking. Bayrou criticized the Iraq war, saying it was "the cause of chaos" in the region.
He criticized Nicolas Sarkozy's foreign policy, including the invitation of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi for a week-long state visit to France and the signing of military cooperation agreements with Libya.
In 2009, he criticized statements by Pope Benedict XVI claiming that condoms promote AIDS. Bayrou called the remarks "unacceptable," adding that "the primary responsibility, particularly of Christians, is the defence of life...This is a continent in which tens of millions of women and men are dying."
He called for France to boycott the 2008 Summer Olympics, due to the poor human rights record in China and political unrest in Tibet. During a rally in Paris on 21 March he said that "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.
National Assembly of France
Bayrou is the sole author unless other names are mentioned.
| Minister of National Education
| Minister of Justice
|Party political offices|
| Leader of the Union for French Democracy
|New office|| Leader of the Democratic Movement