Jean-Louis Debré

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Jean-Louis Debré
Jean- Louis Debré in 2012
President of the Constitutional Council
In office
5 March 2007 – 4 March 2016
Appointed byJacques Chirac
Preceded byPierre Mazeaud
Succeeded byLaurent Fabius
President of the National Assembly
In office
25 June 2002 – 2 March 2007
Preceded byRaymond Forni
Succeeded byPatrick Ollier
Minister of the Interior
In office
18 May 1995 – 4 June 1997
PresidentJacques Chirac
Prime MinisterAlain Juppé
Preceded byCharles Pasqua
Succeeded byJean-Pierre Chevènement
Member of the National Assembly
for Eure's 1st constituency
In office
1 June 1997 – 5 March 2007
Preceded byFrançoise Charpentier
Succeeded byFrançoise Charpentier
In office
2 April 1986 – 18 June 1995
Succeeded byFrançoise Charpentier
Mayor of Évreux
In office
18 March 2001 – 12 March 2007
Preceded byRoland Plaisance
Succeeded byJean-Pierre Nicolas
Personal details
Born (1944-09-30) 30 September 1944 (age 79)
Toulouse, France
Political partyRPR
The Republicans
SpouseAnne-Marie Debré (d. 2007)
RelationsBernard Debré (twin brother)
François Debré (brother)
Parent(s)Michel Debré
Anne-Marie Lemaresquier
Alma materÉcole nationale de la magistrature
Sciences Po

Jean-Louis Debré (French pronunciation: [ʒɑ̃ lwi dəbʁe]; born 30 September 1944) is a former French judge[1] and politician who served as President of the National Assembly from 2002 to 2007 and President of the Constitutional Council from 2007 to 2016.[2] He was Minister of the Interior from 1995 until 1997 during the presidency of Jacques Chirac. Since 2016 he has been President of the Superior Council of Archives.

Early life and family[edit]

Debré was born in Toulouse.[2] He is the son of former Prime Minister Michel Debré, grandson of medicine professor Robert Debré, and brother of politician Bernard Debré.

Political career[edit]

Debré was a member of the Neo-Gaullist party Rally for the Republic (RPR), then of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).

Debré was first elected to the National Assembly in the 1986 parliamentary election; he was re-elected in 1988, 1993, 1997, and 2002 as a deputy from Eure's 1st constituency.[2] He served as Minister of the Interior in Prime Minister Alain Juppé's governments (1995–1997). As minister, he was criticized for having allowed the armed Corsican clandestine press conference, and was responsible for the controversial 1996 evacuation of Saint-Bernard de la Chapelle church in Paris, which was occupied by illegal immigrants (so called sans-papiers) on hunger strikes. Also during his time in office, he led efforts on a 1997 law aimed at curbing illegal immigration and making it easier to assimilate foreigners in the country.[3]

On the local level, Debré was elected as Mayor of Évreux in 2001, serving in that post until 2007.

Debré later served as leader of the RPR group in the National Assembly from 1997 to 2002 and then President of the National Assembly from 2002 to 2007. Faithful to President Chirac, he frequently criticized UMP leader Nicolas Sarkozy.[4] He resigned as President of the National Assembly three months before the end of his tenure.

President of the Constitutional Council[edit]

On 22 February 2007, Debré was appointed by Chirac as President of the Constitutional Council.[5][6] He replaced Pierre Mazeaud in the latter position, and was replaced by Laurent Fabius in 2016.

During his time as president, the Constitutional Council notably ruled in 2011 that France’s ban on same sex marriage did not violate the constitution and the decision on whether to legalize it rested with parliament.[7]

In 2015, a chance encounter between Debré and homeless author Jean-Marie Roughol led the latter to write about living rough, resulting in the French bestseller Je tape la manche (I’m begging).[8]

Later career[edit]

In 2020, Prime Minister Jean Castex commissioned Debré with a report on options to facilitate voting during the public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in France, including a reversal of the ban on mail-in voting.[9]

Political positions[edit]

In 2005, The Guardian described Debré as "perhaps the most dedicated of all defenders of the Chirac faith."[10] He later voted for François Hollande in the 2012 French presidential election.[11] In the Republicans' 2016 presidential primaries, he publicly endorsed Alain Juppé as the party's candidate for the 2017 elections.[12]


Governmental function

Minister of the Interior : 1995–1997.

Electoral mandates

National Assembly of France

President of the National Assembly of France : 2002–2007 (Resignation, became President of the Constitutional Council of France in 2007).

President of the Rally for the Republic Group in the National Assembly : 1997–2002. Elected in 1997.

Member of the National Assembly of France for Eure's 1st constituency : 1986–1995 (Became minister in 1995) / 1997–2007 (Resignation became President of the Constitutional Council of France in 2007). Elected in 1986, reelected in 1988, 1993, 1997, 2002.

General Council

Vice-president of the General Council of Eure : 1998–2001 (Resignation).

General councillor of Eure : 1992–2001 (Resignation). Reelected in 1998.

Municipal Council

Mayor of Évreux : 2001–2007 (Resignation).

Municipal councillor of Évreux : 1989–1995 / 2001–2007 (Resignation).

Deputy Mayor of Paris : 1995–1997 (Resignation).

Councillor of Paris : 1995–1997 (Resignation).

Agglomeration community Council

President of the Agglomeration community of Évreux : 2001–2007. (Resignation).

Member of the Agglomeration community of Évreux : 2001–2007. (Resignation).

Political functions

Spokesman of the RPR : 1993–1995.


  • Le Pouvoir Politique (co-author, 1976)
  • Le Gaullisme (co-author, 1977)
  • La Justice au XIXe Siècle, les Magistrats (1980)
  • Les Républiques des Avocats (1984)
  • Le Curieux (1986)
  • En mon for intérieur (1997)
  • Pièges (1998)
  • Le Gaullisme n'est pas une Nostalgie (1999)
  • Quand les Brochets font Courir les Carpes (2008)
  • Les oubliés de la République (2008)
  • Ce que je ne pouvais pas dire (2016)
  • Tu le raconteras plus tard (2017)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Decree of the President of the Republic putting Jean-Louis Debré on leave from his judgeship in order to be member of the National Assembly.
  2. ^ a b c CV on the National Assembly website (in French).
  3. ^ Barry James (February 28, 1997), Immigration to France Unchanged in 20 Years International Herald Tribune.
  4. ^ Martin Arnold and John Thornhill (April 28, 2006), Chirac embroiled in smear allegations Financial Times.
  5. ^ L' Archived 25 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine, 23 February 2007; Decision of the President of the Republic of 23 February 2007 appointing Jean-Louis Debré as president of the Constitutional council.
  6. ^ Martin Arnold (January 14, 2007), Chirac faces accusations of cronyism Financial Times.
  7. ^ Scheherazade Daneshkhu (January 28, 2011), French gay marriage ban ‘not unconstitutional’ Financial Times.
  8. ^ Kim Willsher (December 31, 2016), ‘It’s a miracle’: from begging in Paris to bestselling author The Guardian.
  9. ^ Pierre-Paul Bermingham (November 16, 2020), France split over ‘American’ mail-in ballots for 2021 regional elections Politico Europe.
  10. ^ Jon Henley (February 8, 2005), Jacques-in-the-box The Guardian.
  11. ^ Jean-Louis Debré a voté Hollande en 2012 et soutient Juppé pour 2017 Le Point, November 15, 2016.
  12. ^ Jean-Louis Debré a voté Hollande en 2012 et soutient Juppé pour 2017 Le Point, November 15, 2016.
Political offices
Preceded by Minister of the Interior
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of the National Assembly
Succeeded by
Legal offices
Preceded by President of the Constitutional Council
Succeeded by