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Michèle Alliot-Marie

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Title: Michèle Alliot-Marie  
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Michèle Alliot-Marie

Michèle Alliot-Marie
Minister of Foreign and European Affairs
In office
14 November 2010 – 27 February 2011
Prime Minister François Fillon
Preceded by Bernard Kouchner
Succeeded by Alain Juppé
Minister of Justice
In office
23 June 2009 – 13 November 2010
Prime Minister François Fillon
Preceded by Rachida Dati
Succeeded by Michel Mercier
Minister of the Interior
In office
18 May 2007 – 23 June 2009
Prime Minister François Fillon
Preceded by François Baroin
Succeeded by Brice Hortefeux
Minister of Defence
In office
7 May 2002 – 18 May 2007
Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin
Dominique de Villepin
Preceded by Alain Richard
Succeeded by Hervé Morin
Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports
In office
29 March 1993 – 18 May 1995
Prime Minister Édouard Balladur
Preceded by Frédérique Bredin
Succeeded by Guy Drut
Personal details
Born (1946-09-10) 10 September 1946
Villeneuve-le-Roi, France
Political party Union for a Popular Movement (2002–present)
Other political
Rally for the Republic (Before 2002)
Domestic partner Patrick Ollier
Alma mater

Panthéon-Assas University

Pantheon-Sorbonne University
Religion Roman Catholic

Michèle Jeanne Honorine Alliot-Marie (French pronunciation: ​; born 10 September 1946 and nicknamed MAM) is a French politician of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP). A member of all but one right-wing governments of the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, she was the first woman in France to hold the portfolios of Defense (2002–2007), the Interior (2007–2009) and Foreign Affairs (2010–2011).[1] She has also been in charge of Youth and Sports (1993–1995) and Justice (2009–2010), and was granted the honorary rank of Minister of State in her last two offices.

She resigned in 2011 after nine years in government due to her position during the Tunisian revolution. One year later, in the 2012 French legislative elections, she lost her seat as Deputy (MP) for the 6th Constituency of Pyrénées-Atlantiques to Socialist Party candidate Sylviane Alaux in the second round, 48.38% to Alaux's 51.62% share of the vote.[2] She still remains Deputy Mayor of Saint-Jean-de-Luz (since 2002, re-elected 2008), as well as Vice President of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).

Alliot-Marie was the last President of the Rally for the Republic (1999–2002), the last incarnation of the Gaullist party, and was the first woman to chair a major French political party. She has remained a leading Gaullist after the RPR merged into the UMP and was seen as a rival to Nicolas Sarkozy before and after his election as President in 2007, although direct confrontation was always avoided.

Alliot-Marie is a law and political science scholar. Her companion is Patrick Ollier, Minister in charge of Relations with Parliament in the Fillon II government; both were ministers simultaneously for a few months in 2010-2011, the first time a couple ever sat in a French government.


  • Early life 1
  • University, private sector, and early political career 2
  • Career 3
    • Local politics 3.1
    • National politics 3.2
    • President of the RPR 3.3
    • Defense ministership 3.4
    • Interior and Justice ministerships 3.5
    • Foreign Affairs ministership 3.6
    • Political career 3.7
  • Personal life 4
  • Decorations and Distinctions 5
    • Decorations 5.1
    • Distinctions 5.2
  • References 6
  • Biography 7
  • Publications 8
  • External links 9

Early life

Michèle Marie was born on 10 September 1946 in Villeneuve-le-Roi (then in the Seine-et-Oise department,[3] now in the Val-de-Marne department since 1968). Her father is Bernard Marie (1918-2015), who was a famous international rugby referee,[4] the French National Assembly Deputy for the Pyrénées-Atlantiques' 4th constituency (1967-1981, department named Basses-Pyrénées until 1969),[5][6][7][8] and the Mayor of Biarritz (1977-1991);[9] and her mother is Renée Leyko and is of Polish descent.[10]

She attended the High School of the Folie Saint James in Neuilly-sur-Seine and then began her studies at the Paris Law Faculty in the now-defunct University of Paris, continuing at the Paris Arts Faculty in that same university. After then-Education Minister Edgar Faure's university reforms (known as Loi Faure) were implemented in 1968, she continued her studies in private law, political science, and legal history at both Panthéon-Assas University,[11] earning a Doctor of Law degree there in 1973 with her thesis Salarié actionnaire (English: "Employee Shareholders"), and Pantheon-Sorbonne University, where she earned a Doctorate in Political Science in 1982 and defended her thesis Décisions politiques et structures administratives (English: "Political Decisions and Administrative Structures"). During her university years, she was a member of the right-wing student union UNI[12]

She also holds a Certificat d'aptitude à la profession d'avocat (English: "Certificate of Aptitude for Practicing Law"), also known as a CAPA; a certificate in African laws and economics; and a master's degree in ethnology. Before her career in politics, she was a senior lecturer at the Paris-I University (Panthéon-Sorbonne), and also spent some time practicing law. She is also a recipient of the Faculty of Law and Economics.[13]

University, private sector, and early political career

During her university studies, Alliot-Marie (then still known as Michèle Marie) began having a relationship with her then-law professor Michel Alliot, who was also chief of staff to then-Education Minister (1968-1969) Edgar Faure. Marie and Alliot married in 1971, thus gaining her frequent access to academic and corporate environments; this also led to a name change from Michèle Marie to her name since then, Michèle Alliot-Marie.

She was first assistant at Panthéon-Assas University and then the University Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne between 1970 and 1984, before becoming a Maître de conférences (equal to an Associate Professor) in public law from 1984, a position she left when she got elected to the French National Assembly in 1986.

In 1972, she became a technical adviser to Edgar Faure, who was by then the Minister of Social Affairs until 1976; and then she was a technical adviser to then-Secretary of State for Universities Jean-Pierre Soisson. She then became an adviser to then-Minister of Departments and Overseas Territories Bernard Stasi from 1973 to 1974, and then to then-Secretary of State for Tourism Gérard Ducray in 1974. She then became the Chief of Staff to then-Secretary of State and Minister of Universities Alice Saunier-Seité from 1976 to 1978 before working in the private sector as an administrator of CEO of the company Uta-Indemnité between 1979 and 1985.[14] She also practiced as a lawyer during this time.


Local politics

Alliot-Marie started her electoral career in 1983 as Municipal Councillor for the Basque-area village of Ciboure (in the former province of Labourd and now in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department), located south of her father's political base of Biarritz, near Saint-Jean-de-Luz; she stayed on until 1988. In 1989, she was elected to another council, this time in Biarritz, alongside her father. In 1990, as part of the municipal majority behind the first Deputy Mayor Didier Borotra of the UDF-CDS, she passed draft legislation in opposition to build a hotel-casino on the front of the main beach of the town,[9] which caused a collapse of the council. Early municipal elections in 1991 were won by Didier Borotra, who united the local UDF, two elected Socialists, and Basque nationalists, who provided additional support.[15] She left the council at the same time that her father was defeated as Mayor. She then served as Mayor of Saint-Jean-de-Luz from 1995 until 2002, and as First Deputy Mayor since then. She was also a member and a Vice President of the General Council of Pyrénées-Atlantiques between 1994 and 2001.

National politics

Alliot-Marie was elected to the National Assembly to represent Pyrénées-Atlantiques in 1986 as a member of the Gaullist Rally for the Republic (RPR). She has been seating in the Assembly ever since, except when she sat in the government; this is due to the French law on Cumul des mandats (literally: "accumulation of mandates") that prohibit cabinet ministers from simultaneously serving as deputies in the French National Assembly; her alternate as Deputy was Daniel Poulou, who served from 1993 to 1995 and again from 2002 to 2011 when she served as Cabinet Minister.[16]

She served as Secretary of State (junior minister) for Schools under the Minister of National Education in Jacques Chirac's second government from 1986 to 1988 and as Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports in Édouard Balladur's government from 1993 to 1995.

From 1989 to 1993, she was a Member of the European Parliament as a member of the political group European Democratic Alliance.[17]

President of the RPR

In 1999, “MAM” entered the challenge for the presidency of the RPR against Chirac's candidate and, to most insiders' surprise, won by a landslide, becoming the first woman to lead a major French political party. She remained President of the party until 2002 when it merged with the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), a merger she opposed at first.

Defense ministership

French Minister of Defense Michèle Alliot-Marie meets with US Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld in The Pentagon on October 17, 2002. Alliot-Marie and Rumsfeld are meeting to discuss defense issues of mutual interest.

Alliot-Marie was Minister of Defense during Jacques Chirac’s second presidential term, France's first woman in this position. Between May and June 2002, she was also in charge of Veterans’ Affairs. Forbes magazine declared her the 57th most powerful woman in the world in 2006[18][19][20] and the 11th in 2007.[21][22][23] She kept the Defense portfolio in Jean-Pierre Raffarin's three governments and in Dominique de Villepin's government.

She remained a leading Gaullist after the RPR merger into the UMP, and created her own movement within the party, Le Chêne (The Oak). Although she publicly considered competing with Nicolas Sarkozy for the UMP nomination in the 2007 presidential election, she ruled herself out of the running in January 2007 and endorsed Sarkozy. Sarkozy and Alliot-Marie had a history of disagreements in the party’s National Council.[1]

Interior and Justice ministerships

After Sarkozy’s election as President, Alliot-Marie was appointed Minister of the Interior, the Overseas and Local Communities in François Fillon's government, being the first woman to hold the position.[1]

Two years later, after the 2009 European Parliament election, she was appointed Minister of Justice and Liberties and Keeper of the Seals and was bestowed the title of Minister of State, which gave her the most senior rank in the government after the Prime Minister. She was made a Vice President of the UMP the same year.

Foreign Affairs ministership

In November 2010, Alliot-Marie was appointed Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, remaining Minister of State and being again the first female holder of the office.

When civil unrest began in Tunisia in early 2011, Alliot-Marie came under scrutiny for going on vacation there during the events, as she had frequently done in the past. She further caused controversy when she told the National Assembly that French riot police could be offered to help restore order;[24] she was specifically criticised for allegedly sending teargas to Tunisia as late as January 2011.[25] Before leaving office, she proposed sending paratroopers to quell the protests.[26][27]

Her situation embarrassing the government, she resigned as Foreign Minister on 27 February 2011 after only a few months in office.[28] She was succeeded by outgoing Defense Minister and former Prime Minister Alain Juppé.

Political career

Ministerial offices

  • Secretary of State for Education: 1986–1988.
  • Minister of Youth and Sports: 1993–1995.
  • Minister of Defense: 2002–2007.
  • Minister of the Interior, Overseas Territories and Territorial Communities : 2007–2009.
  • Keeper of the Seals, Minister of State, Minister of Justice and Freedoms: 2009–2010.
  • Minister of State, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs: 2010–2011 (resignation).

Electoral mandates

European parliament

Member of the European Parliament : 1989-1992 (Resignation). Elected in 1989.

National Assembly

  • Member of the National Assembly for Pyrénées-Atlantiques (6th constituency): elected in March 1986 (became minister in March 1986) / 1988–1993 (became minister in 1993) / 1995–2002 (became minister in 2002) / reelected in 2007 but she remained minister / 2011-2012 (She losts his reelection). Elected in 1986, reelected in 1988, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2002, 2007.

General Council

Municipal Council

  • Mayor of Saint-Jean-de-Luz: 1995-2002 (Resignation). Reelected in 2001.
  • Deputy-mayor of Saint-Jean-de-Luz : Since 2002. Reelected in 2008.
  • Municipal Councillor of Saint-Jean-de-Luz: since 1995, reelected in 2001 and 2008.
  • Municipal Councillor of Biarritz: 1989–1991.
  • Municipal Councillor of Ciboure: 1983–1988.

Party political offices

Personal life

Michèle Marie married anthropologist Michel Alliot in 1971, taking the name Michèle Alliot-Marie. They divorced in 1984.

In the French media, she is nicknamed "MAM".

Since 1988, her life partner has been Patrick Ollier, who briefly served as President of the National Assembly in 2007 and subsequently chaired the Assembly’s Economy Committee. In November 2010, he was appointed Minister in charge of Relations with Parliament in the Fillon II government. Both were ministers simultaneously for a few months in 2010-2011, the first time a couple ever sat in a French government. Due to her higher public profile, he has been nicknamed “Patrick Ollier-Marie” or “POM”.

Decorations and Distinctions



  • Prix de la révélation politique de l'année (English: "Price for Political Revelation of the Year") 1999 - Trombinoscope - being elected as President of the Rally for the Republic party[30]
  • Ministre de l'année (English: "Minister of the Year") 2005 - Trombinoscope


  1. ^ a b c Ariane Bernard (translation) (23 August 2007). "'"Excerpts From 'Dawn Evening or Night. New York Times (in the International Herald Tribune). Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "Résultats des élections législatives 2012 > Pyrénées-Atlantiques - 6ème circonscription (English: "Results of the 2012 Legislative Elections > Pyrénées-Atlantiques 6th Constituency")". Législatives 2012 (in French). L'Express. 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  3. ^ "Who's Who".  
  4. ^ Nedelec, Candice (9 May 2009). "Michèle Alliot-Marie ouvre son jardin secret: Le ministre de l'Intèrieur lève le voile sur son intimité" [Michèle Alliot-Marie opens her secret garden: The Minister of Interior unveils her private life]. Gala (in French) (Prisma Media (then Prisma Presse)).  Google Translate
  5. ^ "Liste alphabétique des députés de la IIIe législature 1967-1968 (groupe politique, département) (English: 'Alphabetical list of Members of the Third Legislature 1967-1968 (Political group, department)')". Assemblée nationale (in French).   Google Translate
  6. ^ "Liste alphabétique des députés de la IVe législature 1968-1973 (groupe politique, département) (English: 'Alphabetical list of Members of the Fourth Legislature 1968-1973 (Political group, department)')". Assemblée nationale (in French).   Google Translate
  7. ^ "Liste alphabétique des députés de la Ve législature 1973-1978 (groupe politique, département) (English: 'Alphabetical list of Members of the Fifth Legislature 1973-1978 (Political group, department)')". Assemblée nationale (in French).   Google Translate
  8. ^ "Liste alphabétique des députés de la VIe législature 1978-1981 (groupe politique, département) (English: 'Alphabetical list of Members of the Sixth Legislature 1978-1981 (Political group, department)')". Assemblée nationale (in French).   Google Translate
  9. ^ a b Planes, Emmanuel (17 February 2011). "Bernard Marie en première ligne (English: 'Bernard Marie in the forward line')".   Google Translate
  10. ^  
  11. ^ Guichoux, Marie (4 December 1999). "Michèle Alliot-Marie, 53 ans, fille de famille gaulliste, présidera peut-être le RPR [...]".  
  12. ^ Latrous, Neila; Marteau, Jean-Baptiste (2012). "Des jeunes pires que leurs aînés (English: 'Young worse than their elders')". UMP - un univers impitoyable (English: 'UMP - A Ruthless World') (Paperback) (in French). France: Flammarion. p. 250.  
  13. ^ "Biographie de Michèle Alliot-Marie" (in French). Le Chêne (English: 'The Oak'). Retrieved 2 August 2013. 
  14. ^ Who's Who in France
  15. ^ "Biarritz: Borotra L'emporte Cantonale dans L'eure" (in French). L'Humanite. 18 March 1991. Retrieved 2 August 2013. 
  16. ^ "Accueil > Archives de la XIIIe législature > Les députés > M. Daniel Poulou (English: 'Home > Archives XIII Legislature > Members > Daniel Poulou')". Assemblée nationale (in French). National Assembly of France. Retrieved 2 August 2013. 
  17. ^ "Michèle ALLIOT-MARIE". European Parliament / MEPs. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  18. ^ MacDonald, Elizabeth; Schoenberger, Chana R. (31 August 2006). "The World's Most Powerful Women (2006)".  
  19. ^ MacDonald, Elizabeth; Schoenberger, Chana R. (31 August 2006). "The World's Most Powerful Women (2006) (sorted by rank)".  
  20. ^ Serafin, Tatiana (31 August 2006). "The World's Most Powerful Women (2006) > #57 Michele Alliot-Marie".  
  21. ^ MacDonald, Elizabeth; Schoenberger, Chana R. (30 August 2007). "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women (2007)".  
  22. ^ MacDonald, Elizabeth; Schoenberger, Chana R. (30 August 2007). "The 100 Most Powerful Women (2007) (sorted by rank)".  
  23. ^ MacDonald, Elizabeth (30 August 2007). "The 100 Most Powerful Women (2007) > #11 Michèle Alliot-Marie".  
  24. ^ Tunisia's troubles: No sign of an end, The Economist, dated 13 January 2011.
  25. ^ Willsher, Kim (5 February 2011). "France rocked by news of aid to Tunisia and Egypt". Los Angeles Times. 
  26. ^ Willsher, Kim (4 February 2011). "Egypt protests: France shaken by news of aid to Tunisia and Egypt". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 February 2011. 
  27. ^ Ali, Tariq. "Egypt's Chaos Defines Bleeding in Despotic Arab World: Tariq Ali". Bloomberg. Retrieved 8 February 2011. 
  28. ^ "Alain Juppé remplace Michèle Alliot-Marie - - info - monde" (in Français). 2011-02-28. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  29. ^ a b c Guiral, Antoine (8 May 2002). "Michèle Alliot-Marie : Ministre de la Défense et des Anciens Combattants (English: 'Michèle Alliot-Marie, Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs')".  
  30. ^ "Guigou élue "femme politique de l'année 1999". (English: 'Guigou elected "politician of the year 1999".')".  


  • Darmon, Michaël (2006). Michèle Alliot-Marie, la grande muette [Michèle Alliot-Marie, the Great Mute] (in French). France: L'Archipel.  


  • Le salarié actionnaire [Employee Shareholders] (Ph.D in Law thesis) (in French).  
  • Les Décisions politiques et structures administratives [Policy Decisions and Administrative Structures] (Ph.D in Political Science thesis) (in French).  
  • La Décision politique - Attention ! Une République peut en cacher une autre [Political Decision - Attention! A Republic Can Hide Another] (in French). Paris, France:  
  • La Grande Peur des classes moyennes [The Great Fear of the Middle Class] (in French). Paris, France: La table ronde. 1996.  
  • Les boursiers étrangers en France: errements et potentialités [Foreign Scholars in France and Potential Mistakes] (Report) (in French). Rapport parlementaire au nom de la commission des affaires étrangères (English: 'Parliamentary Report on behalf of the Committee on Foreign Affairs'). 1997. 
  • La République des irresponsables [Republic of Irresponsibles] (in French). France: Odile Jacob. 1999.  
  • Le Chêne qu'on relève [The Oak Notes That] (in French). France: Odile Jacob. 2005.  
  • Une femme au cœur du pouvoir d'état [A Woman at the Heart of State Power] (in French). Paris, France:  

External links

  • Profile at French National Assembly Website (French) (Translate: Google, Babelfish)
Political offices
Preceded by
Frédérique Bredin
Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports
Succeeded by
Guy Drut
Preceded by
Paul Badiola
Mayor of Saint-Jean-de-Luz
Succeeded by
Pierre (Peyuco) Duhart
Preceded by
Alain Richard
Minister of Defence
Succeeded by
Hervé Morin
Preceded by
François Baroin
Minister of the Interior
Succeeded by
Brice Hortefeux
Preceded by
Rachida Dati
Minister of Justice
Succeeded by
Michel Mercier
Preceded by
Bernard Kouchner
Minister of Foreign and European Affairs
Succeeded by
Alain Juppé
Party political offices
Preceded by
Nicolas Sarkozy
President of Rally for the Republic
Succeeded by
Serge Lepeltier
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