Europe

French ex-PM Michel Rocard dies aged 85

File image of former French prime minister Michel Rocard, who poses for Reuters in his office in Paris, November 5, 2009 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Michel Rocard died in hospital in Paris

Former French Prime Minister Michel Rocard has died aged 85, French media report.

Mr Rocard, a socialist, served as prime minister from 1988 to 1991 under President Francois Mitterrand.

He was regarded as a staunch advocate of the European Union who fought for a left-wing agenda that also embraced a market economy.

The office of President Francois Hollande said France had lost "a great figure of the Republic and the left".

Mr Rocard died in a Paris hospital on Saturday, his son Francis told AFP news agency.

Michel Rocard caused controversy in 1998 when he labelled Mr Mitterrand, who had died three years earlier, dishonest.

In a magazine article, Mr Rocard spoke of a government "clique" under Mr Mitterrand, saying he took the office of prime minister to protect France.

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