Pierre Mauroy, the former French prime minister who pushed through major policy changes in the early 1980s under Socialist President Francois Mitterrand, has died. He was 84.
The office of French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault confirmed Mauroy’s death. Mauroy had been operated for lung cancer a year ago and died of complications from the disease, Agence France-Presse said.
“He served Mitterrand with great honor,” Jacques Attali, an adviser to Mitterrand, said on i-Tele television. “He was determined to prepare France for the 21st century.”
Mauroy had been the mayor of the northern city of Lille since 1973 and was a major figure in the Socialist Party when Mitterrand was elected in 1981.
He implemented Mitterrand’s electoral promises of cutting the retirement age to 60 from 65, nationalizing banks and wide swathes of industry and raising welfare payments and the minimum wage. He also boosted government spending on research and on the arts.
Mitterrand reversed some of those policies in 1983 after his early policies led to higher inflation, budget deficits and a run on the French franc.
Mauroy resigned as prime minister in 1984 after public protests forced him to abandon a plan to cut funding to private schools. Most of the nationalized companies were sold off under subsequent governments.
Mauroy ran the French socialist party from 1988 to 1991 and was mayor of Lille until 2001.
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