Alexandre Millerand

23/09/192011/06/1924View on timeline

Alexandre Millerand

Alexandre Millerand (10 February 1859 – 6 April 1943) was a French politician. He was Prime Minister of France from 20 January to 23 September 1920 and President of France from 23 September 1920 to 11 June 1924. His participation in Waldeck-Rousseau's cabinet at the start of the 20th century, alongside the Marquis de Galliffet who had directed the repression of the 1871 Paris Commune, sparked a debate in the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO) and in the Second International about the participation of socialists in bourgeois governments.

Presidency and later years

When Deschanel had to resign later in 1920 due to his mental disorder, Millerand emerged as a compromise candidate for President between the Bloc National and the remnants of the Bloc des gauches. Millerand appointed Georges Leygues, a politician with a long career of ministerial office, as Prime Minister and attempted to strengthen the executive powers of the Presidency. This move was resisted in the Chamber of Deputies and the French Senate, and Millerand was forced to appoint a stronger figure, Aristide Briand. Briand's appointment was welcomed by both left and right, although the Socialists and the left wing of the Radical Party did not join his government.

However, Millerand dismissed Briand after just a year, and appointed the conservative republican Raymond Poincaré.

Millerand was accused of favouring conservatives in spite of the traditional neutrality of French Presidents and the composition of the legislature. On 14 July 1922, Millerand escaped an assassination attempt by Gustave Bouvet, a young French anarchist. Two years later, Millerand resigned in the face of growing conflict between the elected legislature and the office of the President, following the victory of the Cartel des Gauches. Gaston Doumergue, who was the president of the Senate at the time, was chosen to replace Millerand.

Millerand died in 1943 at Versailles, and was interred in the Passy Cemetery. He was awarded Serbian Order of Karađorđe's Star.

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Published in 9/09/2020

Updated in 19/02/2021

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