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|Prime Minister of France|
31 March 2014 – 6 December 2016
|Preceded by||Jean-Marc Ayrault|
|Succeeded by||Bernard Cazeneuve|
|Minister of the Interior|
16 May 2012 – 1 April 2014
|Prime Minister||Jean-Marc Ayrault|
|Preceded by||Claude Guéant|
|Succeeded by||Bernard Cazeneuve|
|Mayor of Évry|
18 March 2001 – 24 May 2012
|Preceded by||Christian Olivier|
|Succeeded by||Francis Chouat|
|Member of the National Assembly|
from Essonne's 1st constituency
19 June 2002 – 3 October 2018
|Preceded by||Jacques Guyard|
|Succeeded by||Francis Chouat|
Manuel Carlos Valls Galfetti
13 August 1962
|Political party||Citizens (2018–present)|
|Socialist Party (1980–2017)|
|Spouse(s)||Nathalie Soulié (divorced)|
Anne Gravoin (2010–2018)
|Relatives||Xavier Valls (Father)|
|Alma mater||Pantheon-Sorbonne University|
Manuel Carlos Valls Galfetti (French: [manɥɛl vals], Catalan: [mənuˈɛl ˈβaʎs], Spanish: [maˈnwel ˈbals]; born 13 August 1962) is a French and Spanish politician who served as Prime Minister of France from 2014 until 2016. He was previously Minister of the Interior from 2012 to 2014. He was a member of the Socialist Party, and was a candidate in their primary for the 2017 presidential election, losing the Socialist nomination in the second round to Benoît Hamon.
Born in Barcelona to a Spanish father and a Swiss mother, Valls was Mayor of Évry from 2001 to 2012 and was first elected to the National Assembly of France in 2002. He was regarded as belonging to the Socialist Party's social liberal wing, sharing common orientations with Blairism.
Valls' paternal grandfather was the editor-in-chief of a Republican newspaper in Spain. During the Spanish Civil War, he sheltered priests who were fleeing from the Red Terror. After Francisco Franco's victory, he was forced out of his job as editor. Valls' father was the Barcelona-born painter Xavier Valls (1923–2006).
In the late 1940s, Xavier Valls moved to Paris and met his future wife, Luisangela Galfetti, a Ticino-born Swiss citizen, the sister of architect Aurelio Galfetti. In 1955, he won the prize for best still life in the third Spanish-American Art Biennial inaugurated by Franco. Valls was born in Barcelona while his parents were there on holiday. He grew up with them at their home in France and became naturalized as French.
In 1980, aged 17, Valls joined the French Socialist Party (PS) to support Michel Rocard. Within the PS, he defended the 'Second left' (La Deuxième gauche), rather than the more pragmatic left of François Mitterrand. (The Second left could be compared to the 1960s 'New Left' – opposed to party lines and bureaucracy, anti-statist, supportive of anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist movements worldwide, favouring direct action politics.) While studying history at the Pantheon-Sorbonne University, Tolbiac campus, he was a member of the UNEF-ID, a progressive students' union.
From 1983 to 1986, Valls was a parliamentary attaché for the member for Ardèche, Robert Chapuis. In 1986 he was elected to the regional Council for the Île-de-France and served until 1992. In 1988, he became head of the Socialist Party in Argenteuil-Bezons and deputy mayor. From 1988 to 1991 he was responsible for the functioning of the prime minister's cabinet. From 1991 to 1993 he was an inter-ministerial delegate to the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville. In 1995, he became the Secretary of Communications for the national Socialist Party and in 1997 communications and media relations chief for the prime minister's Cabinet. In 1998 he was elected vice-president of the regional council for Île-de-France, a post which he held until 2002. While vice-president of the regional Council, he was also elected mayor of Évry in 2001, a post he held until 2012. In 2002, he became the deputy for the First Electoral District in Essonne and in 2008, the president of the tri-city jurisdiction of Évry-Centre-Essonne.
In the 2008 elections to choose the head of the Socialist Party, Valls supported the former presidential candidate Ségolène Royal over her former partner François Hollande; Hollande eventually won.
On June 13, 2009, Valls announced his intention to run in the Socialist presidential primary in 2011 for the 2012 election. On 30 June 2009 he founded a political organisation with the slogan "The Left Needs Optimism," to provide legal and financial support the Socialist Primary candidates.
On 7 June 2011, he confirmed his candidacy for the Socialist primary. On the evening of the first primary round, 9 October 2011, Valls achieved only 6% of the vote, just behind Ségolène Royal. He was therefore eliminated. On the night of his defeat, he endorsed François Hollande for the second round. Valls was appointed Minister of the Interior in the Ayrault Cabinet in May 2012.
In March 2014, following major losses to centre-right and extreme-right political parties in French municipal elections, President François Hollande appointed Valls to the post of Prime Minister. He replaced Jean-Marc Ayrault who had resigned earlier that day. The Valls Cabinet was formed on 2 April 2014, consisting of 15 ministers from the Socialist Party and two ministers from the Radical Party of the Left.
After the 2016 Nice attack, he was criticised for saying that "France will have to live with terrorism." French citizens booed him when he joined the memorial for the victims, yelling "murderer" and "resign" at him before the minute of silence for the dead began.
Valls left office on 6 December 2016 to run in the primaries to be the Socialist candidate in the 2017 presidential election. He was replaced by Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve. He came in second during the first round of the primary on 22 January, behind his ex-Minister of National Education Benoît Hamon. The two candidates advanced to the second round, which was held 29 January. In the second round, Valls was defeated in the second round, in which he received 41% of the vote to Hamon's 58%. The more left-leaning candidate unexpectedly defeated Valls and became the Socialist Party's nominee. Despite subsequently promising to support Hamon's candidature, Valls later declared his support for Emmanuel Macron of En Marche!.
After Macron's win in the second round of the presidential election, Valls announced that he wanted to run for reelection to the National Assembly under the En Marche! banner, declaring that the Socialist Party was "dead". The Socialist Party has started disciplinary proceedings against Valls, perhaps resulting in his expulsion. En Marche! rejected Valls's application to join, but said it would not oppose him in the election. Valls won reelection as an independent with 50.3% of the vote in the second round, but the result was challenged by his opponent, Farida Amrani of La France Insoumise.
In April 2018, it was reported that Valls was considering an offer to run as a candidate for mayor of Barcelona under the banner of Citizens. On September 25, 2018, Valls announced his candidacy for Mayor of Barcelona in the April 2019 elections and declared that he was resigning all political responsibilities in France.
Valls is on the right wing of the Socialist Party, with a similar approach to the German and Dutch Social Democratic Parties. During the 2011 presidential primary, he defined himself as "Blairiste" or "Clintonien", and described his position as "in the tradition of Pierre Mendès France, Lionel Jospin and Michel Rocard". As prime minister he openly said that he liked the comparison with the new Italian premier, Matteo Renzi, another Third Way-er.
Valls advocates an "economically realistic" political speech without "demagoguery". He voices his dissent in the party by his vision of individual responsibilities ("The new hope that the Left must carry is individual self-realization: to allow everyone to become that which they are") and his positions against a system where some people live only from national solidarity. Describing himself as "reformist rather than revolutionary," he wants to "reconcile the left to the liberal approach".
In his book To Put the Old Socialism to Rest ... And Finally be Left-Wing, he declared support for immigration "quotas".
On Sunday 9 June 2009, while visiting a market in Évry, of which he was then mayor, he was caught on camera suggesting that the presence of more white people would give a better image of the city.
Valls supported the extension of the years of required pension-contribution to 41, as advocated and achieved by the Sarkozy administration. The extension means that due to the maximum mandatory retirement age of 62, only immigrants receiving the right to legally work around the age of 21 would be allowed to receive the pension to which they would have contributed throughout their careers. "The role of the Left is not to deny democratic changes, nor to hide the size of deficits ... The Left can advocate an à la carte pension system and increasing the pay-in period."
In 2002, as mayor of Évry, he opposed a branch of the national grocery store chain Franprix, located in a predominately Muslim neighbourhood, deciding to sell only halal-certified meat/products and products that do not contain alcohol.
As parliamentarian and interior minister, he took strong stances on secularism, supported crackdowns on the wearing of niqābs in public and defended a nursery which sacked an employee for demanding to wear one at work. He had harsh words for anti-gay marriage protesters. When Catholics protested against "Golgota Picnic", he supported the theatre director in the name of freedom of speech.
When Dieudonné's quenelle gesture became viral in 2013, Valls said he would consider "all legal means" to ban Dieudonné's "public meetings", given that he "addresses in an obvious and insufferable manner the memory of victims of the Holocaust." In July 2014, following violent anti-Israel protests in Paris, Valls denounced what he called a "new form of anti-Semitism".
On 12 October 2009, Valls expressed "total disagreement" with a proposal by Daniel Vaillant for decriminalisation or legalisation of cannabis. The plan involved depriving traffickers of a source of income. Valls argued, "The question of drugs that produce considerable damage in some neighbourhoods and nourish the underground economy, cannot be handled this way. There is a certain number of rules that cannot be removed."
Valls said after the 2015 Paris attacks that French society needed a "general mobilisation" against the appeal of "deadly" doctrines. After the 2016 Nice attack Valls said "Times have changed, and France is going to have to live with terrorism, and we must face this together and show our collective sang-froid. France is a great country and a great democracy and we will not allow ourselves to be destabilized." The comments on the Nice attack provoked criticism in France.
In 1987, Valls married Nathalie Soulié, with whom he had 4 children before divorcing. On 1 July 2010, he married Anne Gravoin, a violinist and winner of the Conservatoire de Paris' prestigious Premier Prix for Violin and Chamber Orchestra.
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| Mayor of Évry
| Minister of the Interior
| Prime Minister of France|