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It is very rare to meet in the circles of power, a man who scares and laugh all at once. A man who was long feared networks, secret files, dirty tricks, but the right words, the Provencal accent and a certain way of being, a thousand miles technocratic politics, have also built a form popularity.
Charles Pasqua, who has just died, Monday, June 29 at age 88 of complications from a heart problem, according to a statement from his family published in The Point , had two faces. That of a “godfather” in Corsican conversing with some of his collaborators and dragging in its wake one end of Françafrique, some black legends of the Gaullist movement and many cases défrayèrent judicial chronicle.
One of a character as to Fernandel, terribly friendly, connoisseur of men and inviting everyone to saucissonades memorable. According to the times we swore that he had been “a great resistant” , “a grumbler of Gaullism” , “the first cop of France” “the boss of the richest General Council of the Hexagon, the Hauts-de-Seine” . But it’s even François Mitterrand who summarized the better colorful character of V th Republic, referring to a mixture of admiration and suspicion, “that devil M . Pasqua. “
” Without de Gaulle and Paul Ricard, I would not be who I am “
Throughout his life, the former minister left almost everything. Himself talk much, never short of a joke or anecdote. It was his way, however, very effective, always hide the essential. That is to say, his perfect knowledge of many state secrets and some dark behaviors in the heart of the Republic. Within the right, those who followed his path, his political choices, his trial had ended up telling him coyly “This is a character” , as they evoke a theatrical character. And you must wager that here was a way of homage, admiration and perhaps nostalgia for a bygone era of politics.
Charles Pasqua summed up one day his life in one sentence who laughed snobs: “Without de Gaulle and Paul Ricard, I would not be who I am. “
To figure out what he wanted to say so, we must first return to the fifteen years of the grand-son of Corsican shepherd, this policeman son, and feel the sun and fragrances of Grasse, in Alpes-Maritimes. Young Charles was born April 18, 1927, into a family of fierce patriots, as are sometimes the Corsicans.
After the invasion of the free zone by the Nazi armies in November 1942, s ‘the Resistance under the pseudonym Prairie. In fact, his father, Andrew, is already a member of a network and makes false identity cards of his police station.
Meanwhile, Charles is part of a group of young people who join soon the free France of de Gaulle. From there will date her attachment to man-June 18, he will join after the war, from its foundation in 1947, the RPF. He resumed his studies, graduating from high school and a law degree and married the woman who will always be at his side, Jeanne Joly, a Quebec met in Grasse, with whom he had once only son, Peter. It now takes him a trade.
It is ‘easily seduced by the mobsters’
It will find its first fulfillment in the Ricard company, which then leads battle in the market for alcohol and spirits against Pernod, and reigns supreme in Marseille, where the family moved Pasqua. “I had a stroke of luck, I was received by Paul Ricard himself, Charles Pasqua sometimes told . In his office, he asked me to mimic a sales stage. My performance had to please him. Fifteen days later I was taken for testing. “
It will quickly be noticed by his patter, his intelligence and his sense of the sale. Paul Ricard has an almost clannish way of managing his business. It organizes weekends and bullfights home, invites its directors with their wives and arranges, in essence, that its executives live entirely in the Ricard orbit, including holidays.
Soon Charles Pasqua will be bombarded sales inspector in Corsica, then climb all levels up to the general management of sales in France and export in 1962, sailing from Marseille to Corsica to land in Paris. In 1967, he became the number two in the group. In these times it mainly remembered as a method and define it:
“With Paul Ricard, we had in common atypical behavior. Apart nails … It was a kind of play. More than a game, a need for action. “
” need for action “ also a parallel outlet. In 1959 he became a co-founder with Jacques Foccart and Achille Peretti, the Civic Action Service (SAC), a sort of private Gaullist police, during the war of Algeria. Pasqua is the vice-president and head of the with his friend Daniel Léandri. It is a curious mix of militants, police, gendarmes and the “middle” men who, in the Gaullist engagement beginning, will gradually drift to the raids, accounts regulations and illegality.
Friends “Charles” concede while it is “easily seduced by the mobsters’ , so much more colorful these son of the bourgeoisie who hold the High political keypad. He also sees no contradiction to attend to better serve the legendary figure who remains his reference: de Gaulle. “De Gaulle was a myth! he said one day to the World . If he had been a Communist, I would have no hesitation coconut. And if he had asked me to die for him, I would have done without hesitation. “
In 1968, it is with his troops that the SAC organizes the Gaullist Charles Pasqua tidal wave of 30 May on the Champs-Elysees. He was elected in the wake, UDR MP for the riding of Clichy-Levallois. The previous year, he left to start his own Ricard company Euralim, based in Levallois-Perret, specializing in the import of Americano, an Italian cocktail of Campari and vermouth. But it’s really the policy that offers him the playing field to which he aspires.
From de Gaulle to Chirac
“We do not understand anything about me if we do not understand that I am a militant” , used to launch Pasqua. He could also have added “if one does not understand that I’m a man of war” . Those years transcend everything. The companionship of those who lived through the conflict is far stronger than the political divisions: there are resistant and stashed. And a hundred times Pasqua show his sympathy for communists or socialists who may well be “the other side” politics but attended the same shores of the fight against the Nazi occupiers. Conversely, it may well have declared “common values” with the National Front and even surround themselves with defectors from the extreme right and former Organization of the army secret (OAS), it still experience a deep aversion to Jean-Marie Le Pen and the diatribes launched by former Poujadist MP, in the 1960s, against the self-determination policy decided by the General in Algeria.
Under these conditions, that can be worth its alliance with a man too young to have experienced war: Jacques Chirac. Orphan de Gaulle, Charles Pasqua yet has a real heart for this political godson Georges Pompidou. Chirac has the charm and the appetite of ambitious young people and if he was careful to give in appearance to bourgeois convention, he appreciates the true value of efficiency in the pagnolesque humor of Charles.
In 1974, Pasqua starts its service. “If you keep for France the cape of Gaullism, I will do everything in my power to help you become the new leader” , he told her. Now, friendship seems unwavering. The two men flirt with, share their secrets, and girls Chirac are used to see “Uncle Charles” come and have a whiskey in the evening with the man who became the Prime Minister Valéry Giscard d’Estaing after betraying Yet the man who embodied the Gaullist resistance: Jacques Chaban-Delmas
1980, Pasqua “boys” and the Ministry of Interior
C ‘. Together, with the tandem Pierre Juillet and Marie-France Garaud, they will create the RPR in 1976 after the break between Chirac and Giscard. Pasqua helped the young wolf to get hold of the UDR and silence the barons of Gaullism. Chirac made him the deputy secretary general of the movement. Now, the second phase of his political life will be linked to the ascent to the presidency of the Republic of this foal with long teeth.
No internal election of neo- Gaullist movement escapes him. Its networks are mobilized at any time, even for the less worthy actions.
In 1981, Chirac made him his campaign manager for the presidential election. Pasqua is largely dedicated to destabilize Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, who represents. While the outgoing president is facing controversy over diamonds offered by the “Emperor” Bokassa of the Central African Jean-Bedel, the Pasqua boys nightly affix the posters of Giscard candidate, just instead eye, stickers diamonds … In RPR, executives have received explicit instructions to vote for Mitterrand. Giscard did not recover.
In the team is already preparing for the next election Chirac, Pasqua, now embodies the “dirty tricks” the RPR and the authoritarian side a leader flanked on the other side of Edouard Balladur and Alain Juppé a. It has become the bane of the left. He is so in March 1986, when the right wins the parliamentary and Chirac became the first Prime Minister of cohabitation of the V th François Mitterrand opposed four appointments government, including his own at the Ministry of Interior. Chirac gives the other three, not him Pasqua becomes the “first cop of France”
He hears the role in his own way.. A few days after his arrival Place Beauvau, and it receives the head of the far-right newspaper Minute , Patrick Buisson. From his safe, the Minister has released to the intention of him twenty years later became adviser to Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee a thick pink folder on which is written in large letters “Turpitudes socialist” … The interior minister is already preparing the struggle against the left, and this one is not mistaken. It challenges the new redistricting largely unfavorable to the PS, the death of the student Malik Oussekine, December 5, 1986, during protests against the laws Devaquet university and soon the issue of a true false passport by the Directorate Territorial Surveillance (DST) to Yves Chalier, former socialist minister’s chief of Christian Nucci involved in the development of the Carrefour deal.
The right, however, adheres to its muscular policy making more difficult the stay of foreigners in France and praises the arrest terrorists Direct Action. The “We must terrorize the terrorists” launched by the Minister becomes almost a cult sentence RPR. It is also thanks to the action of a close, Jean-Charles Marchiani, a former foreign service documentation and against-espionage (SDECEE) who speaks in Corsica with the minister, that will be released including the May 5, 1988 the Lebanese hostages, Jean-Paul Kauffmann, Marcel Carton and Marcel Fontaine. Under the caricature of Fernandel advanced for the first time the power of the human network and secrets that, until his death never deliver the conditions for the release of which we still do not know with certainty the counterparties.
” The promises only bind those who receive the “
The second round of the presidential election is to take place three days later. The joy of seeing the journalist and the two diplomats finally free, yet shared throughout France, will not save the right. François Mitterrand was re-elected. “Certainly, the French do not like my husband,” says bluntly Bernadette Chirac.
In fact, Charles Pasqua understood well before his defeat that Chirac does the not prevail. It infuriates since the fall of 1986 his political hesitations, weaknesses facing the “childish” “the band Francois Leotard” , his fascination for her Minister Edouard Balladur liberal economy. “If you want to content yourself to be the president of the General Council of Corrèze, he said then Chirac, is within your reach. But it will be without us! “ It considers indecisive, nervous and, frankly, no backbone.
The day after the presidential election, he decided to start his own business with the help of another rebel, Philippe Séguin. Their offensive against the direction of neo- Gaullist party will fizzle in February 1990, but two years later, the chairman of the Senate RPR Pasqua group meets again to Seguin sides against Chirac and the Maastricht Treaty.
The European treaty that will create the single currency was adopted by referendum on 20 October 1992 but their campaign has been remarkably effective. Above all, it allowed Pasqua to anchor in a popular electorate often abandoned in the National Front, which he said – between the two rounds of the 1988 presidential election, when Jean-Marie Le Pen had obtained 14.4% of votes in the first round – and share “the same values,” . He tries to grow by filing in the Senate in October 1988, a bill for the restoration of the death penalty.
In the opinion, its formulas are now in vogue: ” The promises only bind those who receive them ” , “politics, it is kicked in the balls” , “it is more true to his nature that his interests” . But Charles Pasqua aspires to exercise power. In the Senate, which he coveted the presidency, part of the right has coalesced against him. In 1983, the young Nicolas Sarkozy blew his town hall of Neuilly, but since 1988 he chairs the richest General Council of France, that of the Hauts-de-Seine. Here it politically and financially powerful.
It has not escaped Edouard Balladur, who in 1993, thanks to the victory of the right in parliamentary elections, became prime minister for the second cohabitation Mitterrand faced by this time a very weakened by illness. The government made it is a small masterpiece of political balance: all the leaders of the right therein, Charles Pasqua, back to the Interior Ministry, to Simone Veil, Francois Leotard Nicolas Sarkozy, Bayrou Gerard Longuet. Pasqua has already understood the presidential ambitions of former Chirac adviser. Annoyed by what he considers the psychological weakness, he said coldly to it a few months earlier: “Jacques, if you let Edward go to Matignon, it will be like if you were playing with Belgian roulette: the where there is a bullet hole in each barrel “ But since Edward is here …
The return to the Place Beauvau
Department Inside, it’s like a repeat of the years 1986-1988. The new minister makes vote the reform of the code of French nationality. It must also deal with student demonstrations in 1994 against the employability contract (CIP), which are marked by violent clashes between police and youth groups. On 4 October 1994, it faces a bloody shootout in central Paris that killed three people among the security forces. It is perpetrated by two students, Florence Rey and Audry Maupin.
Again, Charles Pasqua says “personally in favor” the return of the death penalty for “the most sordid murderers, those who attack the helpless elderly, those who violate or kill children, those who murder the heads of law enforcement” . Under his leadership, General Rondot organizes the arrest of the terrorist Carlos, and it is also under his rule that the GIGN intervenes in December 1994 at Marseille airport, to “neutralize” a commando of the GIA who hijacked an Airbus Algiers party.
However, activists are blown RPR see Charles Pasqua decide to support a few months before the presidential election, a Edouard Balladur yet still he had treated at best “pain in the ass” the worst “liberal bourgeois bradeur of Gaullism” . One is sovereignty and holds the state intervention for the brand of French power. The other is European and liberal. What can they have in common if not a trivial interest and cynical for power?
Pasqua he measured the confusion and misunderstanding that arouses his followers? In the aftermath of its position, it is piped into the ranks of the RPR. The imbroglio of Schuller Marshal case in full presidential campaign, and judicial scandals that undermine his Patrick Balkany stronghold of Hauts-de-Seine complete to tarnish his image. The defeat of Edouard Balladur leaves without allies.
” Everything has been done to eliminate me. A judge took care of it … “
In 1999, his alliance with Philippe de Villiers in the European elections allows him to anticipate the list led by Nicolas Sarkozy, forcing it to resign as head of the RPR. Pasqua and Villiers founded a new party, the RPF. But the two men are not made for each other. Among the twelve RPF elected Members of the European Parliament, leaving the ten. At the head of the General Council of Hauts-de-Seine, he created the University Pole Leonardo da Vinci called “Pasqua college.” He begins to feel grow wings. They will be cut short in righteousness.
“My troubles began in 2000, when I said I was a candidate for the 2002 presidential” , in 2009 explained Charles Pasqua, who retailed: “ It is obvious if you look at it retrospectively, as if I were a candidate, Jacques Chirac n would never have been elected. He was allegedly beaten by Lionel Jospin. Everything has been done to eliminate me. A judge took care of it … “ Nevertheless. Investigations of Justice shed a new light another facet of the political animal.
Africa connoisseurs have long known how Pasqua networks have gradually taken the place of old networks Foccart. The former head of SAC wants to be the Fouche of Africa and can count on its faithful, including Daniel Léandri, Jean-Charles Marchiani and his own son, Peter Pasqua, to help him in this ambition. At the Ministry of Interior, Pasqua knew to help, give security advice, discreetly monitor opponents installed in France, issuing visas. In its way, Charles Pasqua leads in Africa, especially in oil producing countries, its own diplomacy.
He tries to install his own man – often Corsica – in most African presidents, as far beyond the pre francophone square. One percent of the budget of the General Council of Hauts-de-Seine is dedicated to cooperation in Africa.
When, in January 1997, Philippe Jaffré the new CEO of Elf Aquitaine, decides visit Angola, the oil eldorado by far the most promising in Africa, he must shift his visit a week. The former interior minister was scheduled at the same time moving to Luanda and could monopolize the best contacts to the Angolan presidency, but many executives of the French oil company. François Mitterrand himself had understood: in Elf, nicknamed “Africa pump” of the French political class, we can agree to share and work together between Le Floch-Prigent, appointed by the President Socialist Alfred Sirven, near Charles Pasqua, and Chirac André Tarallo.
Pasqua also maintains close links with the arms dealer Pierre Falcone and partner of the latter, Arcadi Gaydamak, decorated the National Order of Merit for having played a key role in the release in December 1995 of French pilots held in Bosnia.
We find all these names in most financial affairs that go stopping years 2000 Charles Pasqua. Relaxed in six of them, he was sentenced to prison suspended twice, even if the court states that it has found in his “no greed nor villainous enrichment will” . His son, Peter, however, must stay in prison. In recent years, Charles Pasqua, who had given up to represent the senatorial elections in 2011, continued to meet friends around the Corsican charcuterie. Recounting happy memories. Sweetened, however, all its secrets.