Jean-Marc Ayrault

Last updated

Jean-Marc Ayrault
Jean-Marc Ayrault (1) (cropped).JPG
Ayrault in 2012
Prime Minister of France
In office
15 May 2012 31 March 2014
Children2 daughters
Alma mater University of Nantes

Jean-Marc Ayrault (French:  [ʒɑ̃maʁk eʁo] ; born 25 January 1950) [1] is a French politician who served as Prime Minister of France from 15 May 2012 to 31 March 2014. He later was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2016 to 2017. He previously was Mayor of Nantes from 1989 to 2012 and led the Socialist Party group in the National Assembly from 1997 to 2012.


Early life

Born in Maulévrier in Maine-et-Loire, [1] Jean-Marc Ayrault is the son of Joseph Ayrault, [2] from Maulévrier, formerly an agricultural worker who was subsequently employed in a textile factory, and of Georgette Uzenot, a former seamstress who later became a full-time housewife.

His early schooling was at the St Joseph Catholic primary school in Maulévrier, after which, between 1961 and 1968, he attended the Lycée Colbert, in Cholet. [3] He subsequently studied German at the University of Nantes. In 1969/70 he spent a term at the University of Würzburg in Bavaria. He graduated with a degree in German in 1971 and in 1972 obtained his graduate teaching diploma. He stayed in the Nantes area for his probationary teaching year which was undertaken in Rezé. Between 1973 and his election to the National Assembly in 1986 he worked as a German language teacher in nearby Saint-Herblain. [4]

Political career

During his youth, Ayrault was a member of a movement of young Christians in rural areas. He joined the Socialist Party (PS) after the 1971 Epinay Congress during which François Mitterrand took the party leadership. Ayrault was affiliated to Jean Poperen's faction, one of the left-wing groups in the party. Elected in 1976 to the General Council of Loire-Atlantique département , he subsequently became Mayor of Saint-Herblain, located in the western suburbs of Nantes, in 1977. At 27, he was the youngest mayor of a French city of more than 30,000 inhabitants. He left the General Council in 1982.

He reached the PS national committee in 1979, then the executive of the party in 1981. He was first elected to the National Assembly in 1986, as representative of Loire Atlantique department, and he was consistently re-elected in subsequent elections. In 1989, he was chosen by the PS to conquer the mayoralty of Nantes, held by the Rally for the Republic (RPR) party, and he won. Re-elected in 1995, 2001 and 2008, he was also president of the Urban Community of Nantes Métropole since 2002. He was an important "local baron" of the Socialist Party.

After the surprising victory of the "Plural Left" in the 1997 legislative election, he was not appointed to the government but was instead designated as President of the Socialist parliamentary group in the National Assembly, a position he held for the next 15 years. Ayrault was a supporter of François Hollande during the Socialist Party's 2011 primary election to choose its presidential candidate. Hollande was ultimately elected President in the 2012 presidential election, and he appointed Ayrault as Prime Minister when he took office on 15 May 2012.

Prime Minister

Ayrault during a meeting in his constituency in Nantes with Francois Hollande Nantes - Meeting Francois Hollande (3).jpg
Ayrault during a meeting in his constituency in Nantes with François Hollande

Following François Hollande's victory in the 2012 presidential election, Ayrault was appointed Prime Minister of France replacing François Fillon. The following day, Ayrault unveiled his Cabinet. In response to the Greek government-debt crisis he asked the European Commission to put unused structural funds towards helping the Greek economy return to growth and said "We waited too long before helping Greece. This has been going on for two years now and only gets worse..." [5] During his time in office, same-sex marriage was also legalized.

Ayrault's appointment to the country's head of government prompted discussion within Arabic language mass media as to how to pronounce his surname. When his name is pronounced properly in French, it sounds "very much like a moderately rude Lebanese [slang] term" for a phallus. [6] Al-Arabiya decided to pronounce the name properly and write its Arabic transliteration "in a way that makes clear it is not the offensive word"; CNN Arabic decided to pronounce Ayrault's surname by "voicing the last two letters in the written word." [6]

During his time in office, Ayrault and his ministers introduced a raft of progressive measures, including a reduction in the retirement age from 62 to 60 for some categories of workers, cuts in ministerial salaries of up to 30%, [7] a rise in the minimum wage, the introduction of a 36-month rent freeze on new contracts in some urban areas, an extension of social rebates on energy, increased educational support for low-income families, [8] the introduction of a system of subsidised employment for young people between 16 and 25, [9] and the extension of an entitlement to free health care to an additional 500,000 people. [10]

Ayrault resigned on 31 March 2014, the day after the "Socialists suffered heavy losses in nationwide municipal elections", [11] and formally handed over to his successor Manuel Valls at the prime ministerial residence, the Hotel Matignon, on 1 April 2014. [12]

Minister of Foreign Affairs

As part of a 2016 cabinet reshuffle, Hollande appointed Ayrault as foreign minister, replacing Laurent Fabius. [13]

Under Ayrault's leadership, the French foreign ministry summoned Vincent Mertens de Wilmars, Belgium's ambassador in Paris, in September 2016 after detaining two Belgian police officers on French territory for allegedly depositing migrants across the countries' border. [14]

In September 2016, Ayrault took part in the formal signing ceremony for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, a controversial $24-billion Franco-Chinese investment project. [15]

Personal life

When President Hollande published a list of bank deposits and property held by all 38 ministers for first time 2012, [16] Ayrault declared personal assets worth 1.5 million euros. [17]

Political resume

Ayrault with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris, 30 July 2016 Secretary Kerry Meets With French Foreign Minister Ayrault (28365791130).jpg
Ayrault with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris, 30 July 2016

French Government

National Assembly

General council

Community Council

Municipal Council


National honour

Foreign honours

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">François Hollande</span> President of France from 2012 to 2017

François Gérard Georges Nicolas Hollande is a French politician who served as President of France from 2012 to 2017. He previously was First Secretary of the Socialist Party (PS) from 1997 to 2008, Mayor of Tulle from 2001 to 2008, and President of the General Council of Corrèze from 2008 to 2012. Hollande also served in the National Assembly twice for the 1st constituency of Corrèze from 1988 to 1993, and again from 1997 until 2012.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marie-Arlette Carlotti</span> French politician

Marie-Arlette Carlotti is a French politician and former Member of the European Parliament for the south-east of France. Educated at Paul Cézanne University in Marseille, France, she is a member of the Socialist Party, which is part of the Party of European Socialists, and sat on the European Parliament's Committee on Development. Since 16 May 2012, she is Vice-Minister of Disabled people in the Ayrault Cabinet.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Arnaud Montebourg</span> French politician, lawyer, and entrepreneur

Arnaud Montebourg is a French politician, lawyer and entrepreneur who served as the Minister of Industrial Renewal from 2012 to 2014, then as Minister of Economy, Industrial Renewal, and Digital Affairs, 31 March 2014 until his resignation on 25 August.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Loire-Atlantique's 3rd constituency</span> Constituency of the National Assembly of France

The 3rd constituency of Loire-Atlantique is a French legislative constituency in the Loire-Atlantique département. Like the other 576 French constituencies, it elects one MP using the two-round system, with a run-off if no candidate receives over 50% of the vote in the first round.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">George Pau-Langevin</span> French politician

George Pau-Langevin is a French lawyer and politician. A member of the Socialist Party (PS). Close to Bertrand Delanoë, she was deputy for the 21st constituency of Paris from 2007 to 2012, then re-elected in the 15th constituency, which took over roughly the same territory in Paris, in 2012. She was the Minister Delegate for Educational Success in the governments of Jean-Marc Ayrault from 2012 to 2014, then was appointed Minister of Overseas Territories in 2014 in the governments of Manuel Valls. Resigning in 2016, she regained her seat as a deputy and was re-elected the following year. She left the National Assembly in November 2020, following her appointment as Deputy Defender of Rights.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marisol Touraine</span> French politician

Marisol Touraine is a French politician who served as Minister of Social Affairs and Health under Prime Ministers Jean-Marc Ayrault, Manuel Valls, and Bernard Cazeneuve.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Michel Sapin</span> French politician

Michel Sapin (French pronunciation: ​[mi.ʃɛl sa.pɛ̃]; born 9 April 1952 is a French politician who served as Minister of Finance from 1992 to 1993 and again from 2014 to 2017. He is a member of the Socialist Party.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cécile Duflot</span> French politician

Cécile Duflot is a French former politician. She has been a government minister and political party leader.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2012 French legislative election</span>

Legislative elections took place on 10 and 17 June 2012 to select the members of the 14th National Assembly of the Fifth Republic, a little over a month after the French presidential election run-off held on 6 May.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2014 French Senate election</span>

The 2014 French senate election was held on 28 September 2014 and featured results which saw the senate being reclaimed by the centre-right party Union for a Popular Movement (UMP). The right-wing conservative victory reversed the results which came during the previous 2011 French senate election, which was the first time since the foundation of the Fifth Republic in 1958 that the upper house of the French government had been won by a majority of left-wing candidates. Following the victory of the UMP, Gérard Larcher was nominated and subsequently elected to the position of president of the senate, taking the place of Jean-Pierre Bel who had served in the position following the Socialist Party's senate victory in 2011. The Far-right National Front party also claimed its first two seats in the senate election, which their leader Marine Le Pen described as "a historic victory".

President of the General Council of Corrèze and former First Secretary of the French Socialist Party François Hollande launched his campaign in March 2011 to become the Socialist and Radical Left Party candidate for the 2012 French presidential election and announced that he would be contesting the presidential primary. Hollande made the announcement that he was running for President following his re-election as a department executive. On 16 October 2011 he won the Socialist and Radical Left Party nomination with more than 56% of the votes over First Secretary Martine Aubry, following a long campaign. On 22 April he topped the ballot in the first round of voting in the presidential election, and on 6 May he defeated the incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in the second round run-off, becoming the new President of France.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ayrault government</span> 36th Government of the French Fifth Republic

The Ayrault government was the 35th and 36th governments in the Fifth Republic of France, and headed by Jean-Marc Ayrault. The first Ayrault government was formed on 16 May 2012 by the presidential decree of President François Hollande. It was composed of members from the Socialist Party (30), the EELV (2) and the Radical Party of the Left (2). This was the first French government to respect gender equality, with equal male and female posts except the Prime Minister. It lasted one month, until the June legislative elections, after which Ayrault submitted his resignation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Socialist Party (France)</span> French political party (1969–present)

The Socialist Party is a French centre-left and social-democratic political party. It holds pro-European views. The PS was for decades the largest party of the "French Left" and used to be one of the two major political parties in the French Fifth Republic, along with The Republicans. It replaced the earlier French Section of the Workers' International in 1969 and is currently led by First Secretary Olivier Faure. The PS is a member of the Party of European Socialists, Progressive Alliance and Socialist International.

Events from the year 2014 in France.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">14th legislature of the French Fifth Republic</span> 2012–2017 sitting of the French Parliament

The 14th legislature of the French Fifth Republic was the French Parliament elected in the 2012 French legislative election.

Events from the year 2016 in France.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Matthias Fekl</span> French politician

Matthias Fekl is a French politician who served as Minister of the Interior in the government of Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve in 2017. A member of the Socialist Party, he was elected to the National Assembly in the second constituency of Lot-et-Garonne in 2012, retaining his seat until 2014, when he became Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, Tourism and French citizens abroad. In 2017, he briefly returned to Parliament for the remainder of his term.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Olivier Faure</span> First Secretary of the French Socialist Party

Olivier Faure is a French politician who has served as the First Secretary of the Socialist Party since 2018 and Member of the National Assembly for Seine-et-Marne's 11th constituency since 2012. He was elected to the post of first secretary in the party's Aubervilliers Congress and re-elected in the 2021 Villeurbanne Congress. Faure was previously the head of the New Left group, the parliamentary group formed around the PS in the National Assembly, from December 2016 to April 2018.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Patrick Rimbert</span> French politician

Patrick Rimbert is a French politician. He is a member of the Socialist Party. He served as Mayor of Nantes from 2012 to 2014. He was deputy of the 1st constituency of Loire-Atlantique from 1997 to 2002. He was elected president of the Nantes region planning agency on January 14, 2015. He was general councilor of Loire-Atlantique from 1992 to 2001.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Karine Daniel</span> French politician

Karine Daniel, born 22 June 1974 in Nantes, is a French politician and economist. She was the deputy for Loire-Atlantique's 3rd constituency in the National Assembly of France from 2016 to 2017.


  1. 1 2 Roger, Patrick (15 May 2012). "Jean-Marc Ayrault, le "réformiste décomplexé". Le Monde (in French). Archived from the original on 15 May 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2012.
  2. Besson 2004 , p. 54[ citation not found ]
  3. "Jean-Marc Ayrault". le site de France Info (in French). Archived from the original on 15 May 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2012.
  4. "Biographical note on the website for Nantes". Archived from the original on 15 June 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2012.
  5. Wearden, Graeme (22 March 2011). "Eurozone crisis live: Greek and Spanish fears hit markets again". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 4 January 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  6. 1 2 Shair, Kindah (18 May 2012). "New French PM's name causes Arab giggles". CNN. Archived from the original on 23 May 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  7. "hollande-tipped-majority-france-vote" Archived 18 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine , Yahoo! News.
  8. "Policy Network – Publications". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  9. "Youth Employment developments: France". Association des États Généraux des Étudiants de l'Europe.
  10. "La CMU pour 500.000 personnes de plus". Le Figaro. 11 December 2012. Archived from the original on 20 June 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  11. Craggs, Ryan, "French Prime Minister Resigns: Jean-Marc Ayrault Tenders Resignation" Archived 3 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine , The Huffington Post , 31 March 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  12. "Remaniement: retour sur une journée de tractations". BFMTV. Archived from the original on 3 April 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  13. Anne-Sylvaine Chassany (11 February 2016), Hollande attempts to rally the left with reshuffle Archived 5 March 2017 at the Wayback Machine Financial Times .
  14. Matthew Dalton and Gabriele Steinhauser (22 September 2016), France Summons Belgium’s Ambassador in Migrant Spat Archived 5 March 2017 at the Wayback Machine The Wall Street Journal .
  15. Kate Holton and Karolin Schaps (29 September 2016), UK signs long-awaited Franco-Chinese nuclear project behind closed doors Archived 5 March 2017 at the Wayback Machine Reuters
  16. Catherine Bremer (April 12, 2013), Ministers' wealth list to expose France's "caviar left" Archived 23 June 2021 at the Wayback Machine Reuters .
  17. Catherine Bremer and John Irish (April 15, 2013), Wealth inventory exposes millionaires in French government Archived 23 June 2021 at the Wayback Machine Reuters .
  18. Italian Presidency website, Sig. Jean-Marc Ayrault Archived 28 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine (Primo Ministro) – Cavaliere di Gran Croce Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana
National Assembly of France
Preceded by Leader of the socialist group
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Michel Chauty
Mayor of Saint-Herblain
Succeeded by
Mayor of Nantes
Succeeded by
Patrick Rimbert
Preceded by Prime Minister of France
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Order of precedence
Preceded byas Former Prime Minister Order of precedence of France
Former Prime Minister
Succeeded byas Former Prime Minister