French neo-Gaullist centre-right politician, foreign minister 1993–95 and 2011–12, and prime minister 1995–97. In 1976, as a close lieutenant of Jacques Chirac, he helped to found the right-of-centre Rally for the Republic (RPR) party, of which he later became secretary general, then president. He was appointed premier by newly-elected president Chirac in May 1995 but, within months, found his position under threat as a result of a housing scandal. Opposition to his government's economic programme, particularly welfare cuts, provoked a general strike in November 1995. After a period out of office from 1999 as a result of an investigation and conviction for abuse of public funds, he returned to frontline politics in 2006 when he was elected mayor of Bordeaux. He went on to serve under prime minister François Fillon as ecology and sustainable development minister 2007, defence minister 2010–11, and foreign minister 2011–12. He contested the centre-right Les Républicains (LR) presidential nomination for 2017 but was defeated by Fillon.
The son of a Gascony farmer, Juppé was educated at the prestigious École Nationale d'Administration and his early career was as a ‘fast-track’ civil servant. He was first elected to the French National Assembly, for a Paris constituency, in 1983. Nicknamed ‘Amstrad’ for his lightning intellect, he became a budget minister in the 1986–88 Chirac administration and was an outstanding foreign minister in the Balladur government of 1993–95. A pro-European technocrat, he became prime minister when Chirac was elected president in May 1995. Juppé was re-elected mayor of Bordeaux in June 1995, and elected president of the RPR in October 1995. He resigned as prime minister after the right of coalition was defeated by the Socialist Party in the June 1997 National Assembly elections.
In August 1998 Juppé came under investigation for alleged payroll abuses in Paris when he was the city's finance director, and Jacques Chirac, France's current president, was the mayor of Paris. In 2004 he was convicted of abuse of public funds and sentenced to a 14-month (following an appeal) suspended jail sentence.