Paris (AFP)

"Last of the Gaullist barons", Albin Chalandon, former Keeper of the Seals and ex-CEO of Elf-Aquitaine, died at the age of 100, after having pursued a dual career as a politician and a man of business.

His death was announced Thursday by his distant successor, Minister of Justice Eric Dupond-Moretti, who praised the memory of a "great servant" of the Republic.

"With the death of Albin Chalandon, France loses one of its Liberation fighters, the Republic one of its great servants and the Ministry of Justice one of its former Guards", tweets the minister.

The former Minister of Justice Rachida Dati, of whom Albin Chalandon has been a mentor throughout his career, greeted the news with immense sadness. "Albin Chalandon changed my life. He's someone who gave me everything. He gave me my freedom, allowed me to emancipate myself, he helped me when my mother was seriously ill, my family in hardship and in my professional life. I had an infinite love for him and I said to myself: if he had not been there, what would I have become? " -she told AFP, her voice broken with emotion.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin for his part hailed "the life and memory" of "the last of the + barons + Gaullists".

Several other right-wing personalities also paid tribute to the career of the man who, like Jacques Chaban-Delmas, Maurice Couve de Murville, Pierre Messmer or Alain Peyrefitte, was one of the historical political companions of General de Gaulle.

"With Albin Chalandon, an unusual personality disappears," wrote on Twitter Valérie Pécresse, the president (ex-LR) of the Ile-de-France region. "He served France with elegance at every stage of his life," emphasizes the mayor of Nice (LR) Christian Estrosi. "The Fifth Republic loses one of its great servants," bows Xavier Bertrand, the president (ex-LR) of Hauts-de-France.

All three also have a "thought" for his wife, the journalist Catherine Nay.

Born June 11, 1920 in Reyrieux (Ain), graduate in letters, Albin Chalandon joined the Resistance and participated in the Liberation of Paris in 1944. After the Finance inspectorate, he became a member of the cabinet of Léon Blum, then president of the provisional government.

He then became involved in political life and joined the RPF (Gaullist) in 1948. In 1952, he created the Commercial Bank of Paris, which he chaired from 1964 to 1968.

Returning to politics in 1958 with General de Gaulle, he became Secretary General of the UNR (1958-59), then Deputy Secretary General of the UDR (1974-75). Deputy for Hauts-de-Seine (1968 then 1973), he was elected deputy for the North in 1986 but gave up his electoral mandate to enter the government.

Minister of Industry under Georges Pompidou from May to July 1968, he was Minister of Equipment and Housing in the Couve de Murville (1968-69) and Chaban-Delmas (1969-72) governments.

It was in 1969 that he had the idea of ​​offering inexpensive single-family homes to the poorest households. About 65,000 "chalandonnettes" were built between 1970 and 1972. But some encountered technical problems, causing the dissatisfaction of their owners.

Albin Chalandon then became president of the nationalized group Elf-Aquitaine (1977-83). He was removed from it after the left came to power, for having wanted to oppose the restructuring plan for French heavy chemicals.

Appointed Keeper of the Seals in 1986 in the cohabitation government of Jacques Chirac, Mr. Chalandon is the symbol of a security policy.

In 2010, he was taken into custody in connection with the Visionex affair, a company suspected of manufacturing internet terminals allowing illegal betting and targeted by an investigation in which his son was indicted.

Grand'Croix of the Legion of Honor and Croix-de-Guerre 39-45, he was married in 1951 to Princess Salomé Murat with whom he had three children. He later shared the life of Catherine Nay whom he married in 2016.

el-asl-ccd-pr / leb / rhl

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