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July 2, 2011 at 10:57 am #11907
Prominent French politician Philippe Seguin dies aged 66
(by AFP – 7 January 2010)
"The former French government minister Philippe Seguin died overnight at the age of 66 of a heart attack. A "Gaullist" of the old guard, his most recent post was as president of France’s public audit office.
Former minister Philippe Seguin, a heavyweight of the French right best remembered for his opposition to the Maastricht Treaty that led to the euro, has died at the age of 66, officials said Thursday.
The burly former parliament speaker who served as president of France’s Cour des comptes, the public audit office, died at his Paris home overnight of a heart attack, police and politicians said.
President Nicolas Sarkozy hailed Seguin as "one of the great figures and great voices of our national life" while his predecessor Jacques Chirac paid homage to a "statesman of exceptional intelligence."
A brilliant orator with a booming voice, Seguin shot to prominence in 1992 when he led the campaign for a ‘no’ vote to the Maastricht Treaty, facing off against a frail president Francois Mitterrand.
The Gaullist politician would repeatedly point out that it was in Maastricht that D’Artagnan, one of Alexandre Dumas’s three legendary musketeers, had died.
In the end, the ‘yes’ vote won by a narrow margin of 51 percent, but Seguin’s reputation as a formidable debater and brilliant strategist was made.
A year later, in 1993, he was elected speaker of the National Assembly.
"Philippe Seguin was not a man to compromise his convictions," Sarkozy said in his tribute.
"Everyone remembers the homeric struggle he waged in the referendum campaign for the Maastricht Treaty during which he deployed his remarkable oratory skills to defend his vision of the French people’s sovereignty."
Tributes poured in from across the political spectrum and also from the French football world, which counted him as one of its strongest fans.
Former interior minister Charles Pasqua, a fellow euro-sceptic, said Seguin was "a passionate man who loved his country" and his death was "a great loss for France".
Born in Tunis, Seguin hailed from modest roots but set himself on a path to power when he won entry into the ENA elite school of public administration and later joined the right-wing Rally for the Republic (RPR) party.
His first election victory came in 1978 when he won a parliament seat in the eastern Vosges district and eight years later, Seguin became minister of social affairs and employment in a government led by Jacques Chirac.
As parliament speaker, Seguin supported Chirac’s bid for the presidency in 1995 and became a key advocate of centre-right social policies that helped propel Chirac to victory.
In 1997, he took over the helm of Chirac’s RPR party, but he later fell out with the president and resigned as party leader, two years later, leaving Sarkozy in charge.
His political career suffered a setback in 2001 when he was defeated in the elections for Paris mayor by Socialist Bertrand Delanoe.
Since 2004 he had been president of France’s public audit office.
Former prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin told Radio Classique that Seguin was "an exceptional character. He was afraid of nobody."
Flags flew at half-mast in the northeastern town of Epinal, where he served as mayor from 1983 to 1997. Funeral services will be held on Monday."
Philippe Seguin had several French and foreign awards :
French awards :
* Grand-croix de l’Ordre National du Mérite.
* Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques
* Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole
* Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
* Commandeur de l’ordre de Tahiti Nui (Polynésie Française)
* Grand Officier de l’Ordre de la Pléiade
* Médaille de la Jeunesse et des Sports (bronze)
* Médaille d’honneur régionale, départementale et communale
* Medals awarded in his father ‘s name : Croix de Guerre 1939-1945 and Médaille Militaire.
It is said that he refused to be awarded the Légion d’Honneur because his father died without getting it.
Foreign awards :
* Officier de l’Ordre National du Québec
* Grand-croix de l’Ordre du Mérite de la République Fédérale d’Allemagne
* Grand-croix de l’Ordre de la Croix du Sud (Brasil)
* Commandeur de l’Ordre Stara Planina (Bulgaria)
* Order of the Crown of Brunei
* Grand-croix de l’Ordre royal de Sahamétrei (Cambodia)
* Grand-croix de l’Ordre du Mérite du Chili
* Grand cordon de l’Ordre Ouissam Alaouite (Morocco)
* Grand-croix de l’Ordre de Gorkha-Dakshina-Bahu (Nepal)
* Grand-croix de l’Ordre du 7 Novembre (Tunisia)
* Grand-croix de l’Ordre de la République de Tunisie.
Here is the French 1st President of the "Cour des Comptes", Philippe Seguin, the day of his investiture, on 6 September 2004.
Photo : Patrick Kovarik (AFP)
AFP2.jpgJuly 2, 2011 at 10:58 am #13505July 2, 2011 at 11:11 am #13506July 2, 2011 at 11:12 am #13507July 2, 2011 at 11:13 am #13508July 2, 2011 at 11:14 am #13509
A good pic of this sash / collar. I believe it is probably unique in France.
Pic : REUTERS/Francois Mori/Pool
Not so unique, this is the way to wear a grand-cross when you are wearing a robe.July 2, 2011 at 11:15 am #13510ed_haynesParticipant
Only in France, I guess.July 2, 2011 at 11:16 am #13511
Not so unique, this is the way to wear a grand-cross when you are wearing a robe.
Correct, when you are a magistrate or a Church man. But, today in France, I don’t believe there are so many of them Grand Croix of the Ordre National du Mérite…
BTW, I did not yet succeed in finding a nice picture of Philippe Seguin’s Grand Croix on its coffin during the ceremony. If someone knows one, please post it (with the appropriate credit of course).
Thanks and cheers.
Ch.July 2, 2011 at 11:17 am #13512
Only in France, I guess.
Men are wearing robes all around the world, not only in France… Seriously, in a lot of countries, magistrates are wearing robes but I don’t know if they are wearing grand-crosses this way in these countries.
Christophe, I tryed to find other pictures of this kind of sash (both Legion of Honour and National order of Merit) but couldn’t find anything.July 2, 2011 at 11:17 am #13513ed_haynesParticipant
In many cases, when there is a grand cross there is a collar chain and badge that doesn’t look quite as outlandish when worn over a robe (robes are less common than grand crosses). I have never seen the sash worn around the neck this way except in France.
The only robes I am familiar with are academic robes, and a grand cross would be worn properly in these robes.
I have seen cases of a grand cross being hung around the neck like this at the time of installation, where the people performing the installation can’t quite figure out the right way to do the ceremony. To be fair, the mechanics of doing this bestowal are complex and, at least for the British, a special sash was often used with hooks at the shoulder so it could be draped, pinned up so it sort of looked right, and then later replaced with a normal sash behind the scenes.July 2, 2011 at 11:18 am #13514
In France, robes are more common than grand cross, as they are used by magistrates and lawyers each time they plead. In France the collar chain is only used by the president of the republic the day of his nomination as great master of the order. The grand cross is always worn on a sash. Of course, I’m only talking for France.July 2, 2011 at 11:19 am #13515
So, I would say that any pic of this kind of sash, worn in France or elsewhere, is welcome. If you find any pic of these, please post.
And I’m still interested in a picture of Philippe Seguin’s Grand Cross on its coffin during the ceremony.
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