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Alain Savary (25 April 1918, Algiers - 17 February 1988) was a French Socialist politician, deputy to the National Assembly of France during the Fourth and Fifth Republic, chairman of the Socialist Party (PS) and a government minister in the 1950s and in 1981, when he was nominated by President François Mitterrand as Minister of National Education.[1]


In 1940, as soon as France was occupied by the German army, he enlisted in the Resistance. He organized the rallying of Saint-Pierre et Miquelon to the Free French Forces and became its governor. After the war, he participated to the restoring of the Republican State.

A member of the French Section of the Workers' International (socialist party, SFIO)], he was deputy for Saint-Pierre et Miquelon throughout most of the Fourth Republic, from 1944 to 1946 and from 1951 to 1958. In 1956, he was nominated Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in Guy Mollet's cabinet, but resigned due to his opposition to the repressive policy of Mollet in Algerian War (1954-62) and to the arrest of Ahmed Ben Bella. He left the SFIO in 1958, because of the party's support for Charles de Gaulle's comeback and for the new Constitution elaborating a presidential regime (the Fifth Republic).

With Pierre Mendès-France, he founded the dissident Autonomous Socialist Party (PSA) which became, in 1960, the Unified Socialist Party (PSU). However, he left it in 1967 and founded the Union of Clubs for the Renewal of the Left, which joined the Federation of the Democratic and Socialist Left (FGDS) which supported left-wing candidate François Mitterrand at the 1965 presidential election. Then, he returned to the "old socialist house" when it was replaced by the Socialist Party (PS).


In the PS

Reconciled with Guy Mollet, he succeeded him to the leadership of the party in 1969. As First Secretary of the PS, he promised to begin an "ideological dialogue" with the French Communist Party (PCF), which was the largest left-wing party in France at the time. Yet, he was faced with growing pressure from internal opponents who reproached him to remain dependent on Mollet's followers and to not pursue the renewal of the party. Two years later, during the Epinay Congress, he was overthrown by François Mitterrand, who proposed an alliance with the Communists based on a Common Program.

Deputy for Haute Garonne in 1973, then Minister of National Education in 1981, he resigned three years later, after the failure of his bill to limit the financing of private schools. Indeed, in July 1984, President Mitterrand decided to withdraw the Savary Bill due to large demonstrations by the supporters of private schools.


Preceded by
Christian Beullac
Minister of National Education
1981 – 1983
Succeeded by
Jean-Pierre Chevènement


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