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|Prime Minister of France|
2 April 1992 – 29 March 1993
|Preceded by||Édith Cresson|
|Succeeded by||Édouard Balladur|
Pierre Eugène Bérégovoy
23 December 1925
|Died||1 May 1993 (aged 67)|
Pierre Eugène Bérégovoy (French pronunciation: [pjɛʁ beʁeɡɔvwa]; 23 December 1925 – 1 May 1993) was a French politician who served as Prime Minister of France under President François Mitterrand from 2 April 1992 to 29 March 1993. He was a member of the Socialist Party.
Pierre Bérégovoy was born in Déville-lès-Rouen to a Ukrainian father (original family name Береговий in Ukrainian or Береговой in Russian) who had left the Russian Empire after the Russian Civil War, and a French mother.
He started his professional life at the age of 16 as a qualified metal worker. He got involved in politics following his activities in the French Resistance – while working at SNCF during World War II. A member of the SFIO Socialist Party and of the trade unions confederation Workers Force, he joined the staff of the Minister of Public Works and Transport, Christian Pineau, as adviser for relations with the trade unions in 1949. One year later, he became technical agent in Gaz de France.
In 1959, he left the SFIO and participated in the foundation of the dissident Unified Socialist Party (PSU). He became an adviser of Pierre Mendès-France. In 1967, with Alain Savary, he created the pro-Mendès-France Union of clubs for the renewal of the left. This group joined the renewed Socialist Party (PS) in 1969. He joined the executive group of the party behind François Mitterrand, and participated notably in the negotiations of the Common Program of the Union of the Left.
In 1981, following Mitterrand's election as President of France, he was chosen as Secretary General of the Presidency. One year later, he joined the cabinet as Minister of Social affairs. He was among the Socialist politicians who advised President Mitterrand to leave the European Monetary System in order to continue Socialist economic policy. But in March 1983, Mitterrand listened to his Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy and ratified the change of economic policy.
Bérégovoy became Minister of the Economy and Finance, from 1984 to the 1986 Socialist electoral defeat.
Elected mayor of Nevers in 1983, and deputy of Nièvre département in 1986, in the electoral land of Mitterrand, he was manager of the latter's 1988 presidential campaign. After his re-election, at the time of each cabinet reshuffle, his name was mentioned as a possible Prime Minister. In the end, he returned to the Ministry of the Economy and Finance. In this function, he symbolized the adaptation of French socialism to the market economy and struck up hearty relations with employer representatives.
After the 1992 regional elections, which were a disaster for the PS, he was finally appointed Prime Minister. He promised to fight unemployment, economic decline and corruption. During his inaugural speech in the French National Assembly, he claimed he knew the names of politicians from the right-wing opposition implicated in corruption scandals, causing a great hue and cry. Bérégovoy forced Bernard Tapie, his Minister of Urban Affairs, to resign in May 1992 after his indictment by the French justice. He thus created the misnamed "Balladur jurisprudence". In social policy, a number of reforms were carried out. In November 1992 a law was passed that inserted a (arguably narrow) definition of sexual harassment into the labour code and empowered the labour inspectorate and workplace committees to enforce it. In May 1992, increased aid was provided to farmers, mainly comprising reductions in the agricultural land tax and increased grants for young farmers. In June 1992, the French parliament passed a bill which required mayors to encourage social mixing in public housing. A law of 12 July 1992 was aimed at enhancing both the status of child-minders and "the quality of day care for children in a family environment," and a law of 29 July 1992 improved entitlement to medical assistance. The Sapin law of January 1993 sought to prevent corruption and encourage transparency "in economic activities and public procedures," and a law of January 1993 established "the principle of joint parental authority in the legitimate family, even if a divorce occurs." In addition, the coverage of housing benefits was extended in 1993.
He resigned after the Socialist electoral collapse of the March 1993 legislative election.
Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic: 1981–1982.
Prime Minister: 1992–1993.
Minister of Economy and Finances: 1984–1986 / 1988–1992.
Minister of Social Affairs: 1982–1984.
National Assembly of France
General Councillor of the Nièvre: 1985–1993 (Died in May 1993). Reelected in 1992.
Mayor of Nevers: 1983–1993 (Died in May 1993). Reelected in 1989.
Municipal councillor of Nevers: 1983–1993 (Died in May 1993). Reelected in 1989.
Pierre Bérégovoy allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself on 1 May 1993. Friends of Bérégovoy claimed that he had been depressed ever since he lost the March legislative elections in which his Socialist Party won only 67 out of 577 parliamentary seats. Bérégovoy was also being investigated concerning a one-million-franc interest-free loan he received from businessman and close friend, Roger-Patrice Pelat. Pelat died of a heart attack on 7 March 1989, less than one month after being found guilty in the Péchiney-Triangle affair.
At Bérégovoy's funeral, held at Nevers in an atmosphere of tension and shock, François Mitterrand stated that media pressure in connection with the Pelat scandal was responsible for Bérégovoy's suicide. Targeting the press, he said Bérégovoy's "honour was thrown to the dogs", crediting him with "the grandeur of someone who chooses his destiny."
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