Bernard Pons, former minister and secretary general of the RPR, is dead, says his family

“The disappearance of Bernard Pons marks the end of an era. That of the great moments of companionship, of epic politics, of triumphant Gaullism. I loved this man who gave so much to his political family. The vibrant tribute of Nicolas Sarkozy is enough to demonstrate the weight that Bernard Pons had on the right. Born on July 18, 1926 in Béziers, the doctor who became secretary general of the RPR (ancestor of LR) and minister died at the age of 95, his family announced.

Pugnacious and enthusiastic, Bernard Pons began his political career in 1967 in the Lot, before being elected deputy for Essonne and then for Paris, from 1981 to 2002. He was also Secretary of State to the Minister of Agriculture in the Chaban-Delmas and Messmer governments, from 1969 to 1973, but did not participate in the governments of the seven-year term of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing whom he harshly criticized.

“Doctor Pons”, loyal to Mister Chirac

The “doctor Pons” is above all a follower of Jacques Chirac. The Corrézien thus had him elected to the Council of Paris in 1983 in the 17th arrondissement, and Pons twice took the lead of the Rassemblement pour la République (RPR), created by Chirac in 1976: first as secretary general from 1979 to 1984 , then in 1988 as chairman of the RPR group in the Assembly. The most significant passage of his career was undoubtedly his passage to the ministry of the DOM-TOM in 1986, a mandate marked by the massacre of the cave of Ouvéa in New Caledonia, which made 21 dead (19 Kanaks and 2 soldiers) between the two rounds of the 1988 presidential election, and for which he will be held responsible.

He was also Minister of Transport from 1995 to 1997. This father of four daughters, who for a long time divided his life between the metropolis and Martinique, had broken with Jacques Chirac at the end of his political career. “I believed him for a long time to be open, attentive, generous, faithful in friendship. I note today that it is otherwise”, he affirmed in 2005 to the Parisian.

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