Villepin, Dominique de

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Villepin, Dominique de

Dominique de Villepin (Dominique Marie François René Galouzeau de Villepin) (dômēnēk´ märē´ fräNswä´ rənā´ gälōōzō´ də vēlpăn´), 1953–, French diplomat and government official, b. Rabat, Morocco. Of aristocratic descent, he graduated (1980) from the prestigious École nationale d'administration and served in the foreign ministry and diplomatic service from 1980 to 1995, when he became a senior aide to President Chirac. Villepin became foreign minister in 2002 and gained prominence as the principal spokesperson for French opposition to the Bush administration's campaign to win international support for an invasion of Iraq. Appointed interior minister in 2004, he then became premier (2005–7) when Raffarin resigned after French voters failed to approve the proposed European Union constitution. An attempt to push through a loosening of the labor regulations affecting younger workers provoked widespread demonstrations in early 2006, and in a very public setback Villepin was forced to replace the newly passed law with other legislation. Villepin was also hurt by charges that in 2004 he targeted Nicolas Sarkozy for investigation by the secret service, but in 2010 he was acquitted of complicity in a smear campaign against his party rival.

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