Who was François Léotard, this former minister who died at the age of 81?

Who was François Léotard, this former minister who died at the age of 81?

François Léotard, politician, figure of the Union for French Democracy (UDF), died on Tuesday April 25 at the age of 81.

François Léotard, French politician, died on Tuesday April 25th. He was 81 years old. Born in Cannes on March 26, 1942, he first studied law and political science in Paris. At the age of 22 he entered the Benedictine seminary at Pierre-Qui-Vire Abbey, which he left a year later. He was then Secretary of the Chancellery and was transferred to the Central Services of the Foreign Ministry in Paris in 1968. He joined the ENA in 1971 (promotion François Rabelais) through the internal selection process at the ENA and left it as a civil administrator. In 1973 he entered prefectural posts, including the prefecture of Paris between 1973 and 1975, where he was responsible for urban planning and environmental issues. In 1976 and 1977, François Léotard was a member of the cabinet of Interior Minister Michel Poniatowski.

Local and national mandates

François Léotard is the son of André Léotard, who was advisor to the Court of Auditors and mayor of Fréjus from 1959 to 1971. And it’s the desire” clearly the honor of his father », Strongly criticized after the rupture of the Malpasset dam and its 423 deaths in 1959, which prompted François Léotard to take his first steps in politics. In 1977 he was elected mayor of Fréjus. He remains at the head of the church for twenty years. This bond with the South is underscored by those who pay homage to it today. The current mayor of Fréjus, David Rachline, tweeted: ” I honor the memory of a man who stayed true to his territory and whose name will continue to adorn our buildings “. The Mayor of Saint-Raphaël, Frédéric Masquelier, welcomes this ” a figure from the right “, Who has ” has put his ideas at the service of France and our territories through his mandates “. And for the President of the South Region, Renaud Muselier: ” The South Region, his region, bows to the memory of François Léotard ».

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He was also UDF MP for Var, General Councilor for Var (1979-1988) and Regional Councilor for the PACA region (1998-2004). He was Secretary General (1982-1988) and then President of the Republican Party (1988-1990, then 1995-1997). Successor to the former President of the Republic, Valery Giscard d’Estaing, he was President of the centrist formation of the Union for French Democracy (UDF) from March 1996 to September 1998.

François Léotard has held various ministries: Minister of Culture from March 1986 to May 1988 in the government of Jacques Chirac, Minister of Defense and Minister of State from March 1993 to May 1995 in the government of Édouard Balladur under the presidency of François Mitterrand. At that time, the law of September 30, 1986 on freedom of communication, known as the “Léotard Law”, was passed. WHO then replaced the National Commission for Communications and Freedoms (CNCL) for the High Authority for Audiovisual Communications (replaced by the CSA in 1989), which proceeded with the privatization of TF1 and abolished the monopolies of the Régie Française de Publicité (RFP). ) and Telediffusion de France (TDF). For the channels that broadcast in plain text without a paid subscription, the Léotard law establishes a system for the broadcasting of films (number of programs, times, time after their release in cinemas) and sets them quotas for European films and films filmed in French.

François Léotard was known for his political commitment and positions, particularly on openness towards civil society in politics. He was a passionate defender of Europe and played an important role in drafting the Maastricht Treaty, the founding treaty of the European Union.

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He was also a writer and published several works, including novels and political essays. He will write a book about the death of his brother, the actor Philippe Léotard To my brother who is not deadin 2003.

trouble with the law

François Léotard has experienced setbacks with the judicial system in various cases. In 2004 in particular in that of bottomnamed after an Italian investment fund used for the operation, François Léotard was given a 10-month suspended sentence for ” illegal party financing and money laundering “. He was convicted of embezzling public funds in his favor for the creation of the Republican Party (760,000 euros from Matignon’s special fund). In 2021, he was sentenced to two years before the Court of Justice of the Republic in the financial aspect of the Karachi case Detention on probation and a fine of 100,000 euros sentenced for ” complicity in the misuse of company assets ».

A shower of honors

The honors for the politician have multiplied. Emmanuel Macron, who announced the death of François Léotard on Twitter just after 1pm on Tuesday April 25, underlined the loss of a “ free spirit » : « François Léotard served the state and carried a great idea of ​​culture. With his death we lose a free spirit, a man of books and commitment. His native Var, the France he defended, the Republic he loved are suffering a great loss today. “. Edouard Balladur, whose Minister of Defense he was, saluted the one who ” steeped in patriotism “, highlighting his”original personality » next to his “A taste for literature, poetry. And to add: « I think of him with nostalgia and friendship “. Nicolas Sarkozy expressed his sadness: ” It is sad to see that one of the most brilliant personalities of my generation is leaving too soon. François Léotard was as much a traveling companion as a friend. Authentic man, committed, whole, in love with the Mediterranean, he put France above everything. Thoughts moved for him. »

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