France's Rocard put social reforms over politics

French former Socialist Prime Minister Michel Rocard, pictured on January 7, 2010, served as prime minister for three years under Socialist president Francois MitterrandFormer French prime minister Michel Rocard, who died aged 85 on Saturday, followed a political career in which he placed pragmatism and honesty above personal ambition. Rocard was on the right wing of the Socialist Party, and called himself a Social Democrat of dialogue who tried to accept economic realities without giving up social ideals. Among Rocard’s notable achievements were an end to unrest by separatists in French New Caledonia and a minimum social assistance payment, the RMI, aimed at alleviating poverty.

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