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Former minister Jean-Pierre Soissons has died at the age of 89.

The right-wing activist has left. Former minister, Yonne deputy and mayor of Auxerre Jean-Pierre Soissons died on Tuesday at the age of 89, his family said. “Jean-Pierre Soissons passed away peacefully today surrounded by his family,” said one of his two sons, David Soissons. The former politician, Burgundy influencer and mayor of Auxerre from 1971 to 1998, “battled cancer for many years,” he added.

In 1998, this man with deep local roots, who was a strongman in Burgundy before retiring from the political field since 2012, was one of five centrists elected as regional presidents thanks to the National Front. “I don’t regret it. We accepted the votes of the FN, but there were no negotiations with them,” he explained in 2011, claiming that he had a “hard time” with the episode, which overshadowed his return to the post of head of Burgundy.

After 45 years of elected mandates, Soissons has just resigned, refusing to represent himself in the National Assembly in 2012. Questioned at the time by his successor as president of the region, the socialist François Patriate, saw in this alliance concluded with the FN “a stain that will be difficult to get rid of.” “If I had to struggle with this, it was with beliefs and ideas,” Patriate added, praising the “humanism,” “otherness” and, not without irony, the “sense of adaptation” of someone who then wanted to leave “space for the young.” .

“The role of the social worker”

A man in the area, with easy familiarity, known for his interpersonal skills and taste for good food, this seducer knew how to maintain relationships with local elected officials, regardless of their political label. Jean-Pierre Soissons communicated with the Auxerre footballer Guy Roux on the school benches and will accompany the great epic of the AJA. “Without him, it would have been very difficult to achieve what we have achieved,” Guy Roux said, in particular, about him.

A supporter of “peaceful democracy” who refuses to be “a man of confrontation”, the Yonne MP admitted that he perceived his local political commitment as “the real role of a social worker”, while there were “fewer and fewer priests and doctors”. A longtime influencer in Burgundy, the man who was mayor of Auxerre from 1971 to 1998 and continually re-elected as an MP since 1968, liked to recall that he began his political career “with Edgar Faure.”

Jean-Pierre Soissons, second lieutenant in Algeria (1957–1959), was born on 9 November 1934 in Auxerre, the son of an industrialist. After leaving ENA in 1962, he joined the Court of Auditors. He then joined the ministerial cabinet before becoming an associate of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing as deputy general secretary of the National Federation of Independent Republicans (RI) from 1969 to 1975. Having entered the government in 1974 as Secretary of State for Universities, he was appointed Minister of Youth, Sports and Recreation (1978-1981) in the government of Raymond Barré.

“Seduced by Mitterrand”

During François Mitterrand’s first seven-year term, Jean-Pierre Soissons retreated to his Burgundian stronghold while leading the Republican Party (PR), of which he was one of the founders. Then in 1988, “seduced by François Mitterrand”, he became a symbol of “openness”, joining the government of Michel Rocard as Minister of Labor (1988-1991). Reappointed to the civil service by Edith Cresson (1991–1992), he would be Minister of Agriculture under Pierre Beregovoi (1992–1993).

This father of two sons, already the author of several works, including “Karl the Bold” (1997) and “Paul Burt, the Republican Ideal” (2008), devoted the last years of his life to writing, including the memoirs “Off the Beaten Path – A Chronicle of Political life”, published in 2015. “I led my path more or less directly and honestly,” he reasoned in the Republican Yonne when the book was published. In the 2017 and 2022 presidential elections, Jean-Pierre Soissons supported the incumbent President Emmanuel Macron.

In November 2016, Jean-Pierre Soissons was awarded the title of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor for his service during the Algerian War.

Source: Le Parisien

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