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Hervé Gaymard
Hervé Gaymard (born 31 May 1960 in Bourg-Saint-Mauricemarker, Savoiemarker) is a French politician and a member of UMP conservative party. He served as the country's Minister of Financesmarker from 30 November 2004 until his resignation on 25 February 2005.

Gaymard attended the Institut d'Études Politiques de Parismarker (Sciences Po) and then at the École nationale d'administrationmarker, graduating from the latter in 1986. After that he worked as a civil servant in a number of finance-related positions.

He was elected as a local councillor in Savoie's canton de Moûtiers in 1994. He later served on the departmental council of Savoie, and in 1999, became its president. He was appointed to the finance ministry in November 2004, and was forced to resign barely 12 weeks later, on Friday, Feb 25, 2005.

Scandal

Gaymard's resignation as Minister of Finances came after the satirical and investigative newspaper Le Canard enchaîné disclosed on Feb 16, 2005 that the government was funding an exclusive apartment for Gaymard and his family (his wife and his 8 children). The duplex apartment, located in the exclusive "Golden Triangle" neighbourhood off Paris' Champs-Élyséesmarker, reportedly had an area of 600 m² (6460 sq ft) and cost the state a monthly rental of 14,000. Aside from the luxuriously high rent, the state was also funding $3,300 a month for maintenance and three parking spaces, $42,000 to renovate the apartment and the parking area, and $16,000 in real estate fees.

Resignation

While Gaymard's actions were not illegal, the exposure of Gaymard's accepting lavish, state-funded perks, then attempting to lie in interviews, was bad news for the government at a time when the French public was asked to accept more economic sacrifices while reeling from a staggering unemployment rate that reached 10% in January, the highest level in over five years. Gaymard himself had said that the French should become "detoxified" of public spending. Curbing spending has been at the fore-front of Gaymard's office, giving hope to voters that the economy there would soon improve. And, as it was part of his responsibilities to regulate the housing market, he could not be unaware of the difficulties facing families seeking affordable accommodations.

He resigned less than 5 hours before he was to give a televised interview defending his actions. In his issued statement, he said, "I am aware that I committed blunders and, above all, a serious error of judgement…"

Following this scandal, Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin tightened up the rules for public officials using state-funded apartments. However, the Canard soon revealed that Budget Minister Jean-François Copé also enjoyed an expensive apartment paid for by the state while he owned an apartment in Paris.

There has been some controversy regarding how the Canard and Libération had obtained such information. It was at some point suggested that they were orchestrated by Nicolas Sarkozy, a political rival of Gaymard from the same party.

On August 26, 2005, Hervé Gaymard was reintegrated into the civil service corps of the administrateurs civils, with a hors-classe rank, and assigned to the Ministry of Finances (direction of the budget). ( ministerial decision in Journal Officiel, September 13, 2005; Le Monde, September 20, 2005) after refunding the state the €58,894 that the refurbishing of his apartment had cost. Hervé Gaymard has previously announced that he considered working in the private sector. It is unknown, at this point, whether he considers going back to politics in the future.

Political career

Governmental functions

Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry : 2004-2005 (Involved in a court case in 2005)

Minister of Agriculture, of Food, Fisheries and Rural Affairs : 2002-2004

Secretary of State for Health and Social Security : November 1995-1997

Secretary of State for Finance : May-November 1995

Electoral mandates

Member of the National Assembly of France for Savoie : 1993-1995 (Became secretary of State in 1995) / 1997-2002 (Became minister in 2002) / And since 2007

General councillor of Savoiemarker : 1994-1999

Vice-president of the General Council of Savoiemarker : 2002-2004

President of the General Council of Savoiemarker : 1999-2002 / And since 2008

Regional councillor of Rhône-Alpes : 2004-2007

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