Christophe Castaner

Christophe Castaner (French pronunciation: ​[kʁistɔf kastanɛʁ]; born 3 January 1966) is a French politician who served as Minister of the Interior from 16 October 2018 to 6 July 2020 under President Emmanuel Macron.[1] He had been elected in 2017 for a three-year term as chairman (délégué général) of the La République En Marche! party with Macron's support. Castaner was Government Spokesperson under Prime Minister Édouard Philippe in 2017 and Secretary of State for Relations with Parliament from 2017 to 2018. He was also Macron's 2017 presidential campaign spokesman.[2]

Christophe Castaner
Christophe Castaner en 2019 (cropped).jpg
Castaner in 2019
President of the La République En Marche group in the National Assembly
In office
10 September 2020 – 21 June 2022
Preceded byGilles Le Gendre
Succeeded byAurore Bergé
Minister of the Interior
In office
16 October 2018 – 6 July 2020
Prime MinisterÉdouard Philippe
Preceded byÉdouard Philippe
Succeeded byGérald Darmanin
Executive Officer of
La République En Marche!
In office
18 November 2017 – 16 October 2018
Preceded byCatherine Barbaroux (Acting)
Succeeded byStanislas Guerini
Secretary of State for Relations with Parliament
In office
17 May 2017 – 16 October 2018
Prime MinisterÉdouard Philippe
Preceded byAndré Vallini
Succeeded byMarc Fesneau
Government Spokesperson
In office
17 May 2017 – 24 November 2017
Prime MinisterÉdouard Philippe
Preceded byStéphane Le Foll
Succeeded byBenjamin Griveaux
Member of the National Assembly
for Alpes-de-Haute-Provence's 2nd constituency
In office
4 August 2020 – 21 June 2022
Preceded byEmmanuelle Fontaine-Domeizel
Succeeded byLéo Walter
In office
21 June 2017 – 21 July 2017
Preceded byEsther Baron
Succeeded byEmmanuelle Fontaine-Domeizel
In office
20 June 2012 – 17 June 2017
Preceded byDaniel Spagnou
Succeeded byEsther Baron
Mayor of Forcalquier
In office
23 March 2001 – 22 July 2017
Preceded byGérard Avril
Succeeded byPierre Delmar
Personal details
Born (1966-01-03) 3 January 1966 (age 57)
Ollioules, France
Political partyRenaissance (2016–present)
Other political
Socialist Party (before 2016)
EducationAix-Marseille University

Born in Ollioules in the Var department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region,[3] Castaner was Mayor of Forcalquier from 2001 to 2017. He held a vice presidency of the Regional Council of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur from 2004 to 2012 under the presidency of Michel Vauzelle, before he represented the 2nd constituency of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department in the National Assembly from 2012 to 2017. He headed the Socialist Party list in the 2015 regional election in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, which saw the party lose all representation at the regional level. He joined Macron's En Marche! (later La République En Marche!) movement in 2016; he became its chairman the following year after a few months as Government Spokesman.

In 2018, Castaner was appointed as Minister of the Interior following the resignation of Gérard Collomb. His tenure, which was marked by the yellow vests movement, was heavily criticised for its scenes of police brutality,[4][5][6] as well as a series of controversial public statements he made.[7][8] While France was battling the COVID-19 pandemic and demonstrations had been banned, he allowed a Black Lives Matter protest to take place, attracting further criticism.[9] The following month, he was succeeded by Gérald Darmanin in government and returned to the National Assembly where he would succeed Gilles Le Gendre as La République En Marche group president. In the 2022 legislative election, he lost his seat to Léo Walter of La France Insoumise (FI).[10]

Early life and educationEdit

The youngest of three children, Christophe Castaner's father was in the military and his mother was a housewife.[3]

A poor student, he gained his baccalauréat independently (en candidat libre) in 1986.[3][11] A graduate of Law and Political Science at the University of Aix-Marseille, Castaner holds a post-graduate diploma in International Business Law and a diploma in Criminal and Criminological Sciences.

Political careerEdit

After work experience at the Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) legal department, he was recruited to local government management posts in Avignon and Paris. In 1995 he became office manager for Tony Dreyfus, Mayor of the 10th arrondissement of Paris.

He was technical adviser to Minister of Culture Catherine Trautmann in 1997 and became her principal private secretary in 1998. He was principal private secretary to Michel Sapin, then Minister of the Civil Service and State Reform, from 2000 to 2002.[3]

Local governmentEdit

In 2001, Christophe Castaner stood for mayor of Forcalquier. He won against incumbent Pierre Delmar, a member of the Rally for the Republic who had been mayor from 1983 to 1989 and again since 1995. Delmar also served as both a member of the National Assembly and a departmental councillor.

Reelected as Mayor of Forcalquier and president of the district council of Forcalquier-Mount Lure (Communauté de communes Pays de Forcalquier - Montagne de Lure) in 2008, he was an active participant in the creation of the intercommunality of the Pays de Haute-Provence.[12]

He was once again reelected Mayor of Forcalquier on 23 March 2014 by 22 votes, standing against Sébastien Ginet of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).[13] On 11 April 2014, his deputy Pierre Garcin succeeded him as the president of the district council of Forcalquier-Mount Lure.

Regional governmentEdit

In 2004, after having been elected to the Regional Council of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Castaner was tasked by Regional Council President Michel Vauzelle with land use planning. It was the first time this duty fell to an "Alpine" representative, who was also the youngest vice president of the regional council. He was reelected as a regional councillor in 2010 and given a new portfolio: employment, economy, higher education and innovation.

Castaner in 2013

Castaner was named on 5 February 2015 as lead candidate in the upcoming Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur regional election by members of the Socialist Party with 55% of the vote, ahead of Patrick Allemand (31%) and Elsa di Méo (14%). In the first round he obtained 17% of the vote, trailing the record-breaking National Front (40.6%) led by Marion Maréchal-Le Pen and The Republicans (26.5%) led by Christian Estrosi. Following the call of the Socialist Party's national leadership, Christophe Castaner decided not to stand in the second round in an act of unity against the National Front.[14] This choice enabled the election of Estrosi of The Republicans to the presidency of the regional council with 54.8% of the vote in the second round, but meant the Socialist Party would lose all representation in the regional council.

National politicsEdit

Deputy for Alpes-de-Haute-ProvenceEdit

On 17 June 2012, Castaner was elected as a deputy (or MP) to the National Assembly for the 2nd constituency of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department in the 2012 legislative election, ahead of the UMP candidate, Jean-Claude Castel, Mayor of Corbières.

A member of the National Assembly's Finance Committee, in July 2012 Castaner was appointed Special Rapporteur of Work and Employment Budgets. On 20 June 2014, Prime Minister Manuel Valls entrusted him with the vice presidency of the Council for the Co-ordination of Profit-sharing, Employee Savings and Employee Shareholding (Conseil d'orientation de la participation, de l'intéressement, de l'épargne salariale et de l'actionnariat salarié — COPIESAS). This authority was in charge of bringing negotiations between unions and management on these measures to a successful conclusion.

Castaner is considered to be one of Macron's earliest backers.[15] He sponsored the Bill for Growth, Activity and Equality of Economic Opportunity (Loi pour la croissance, l'activité et l'égalité des chances économiques), known as the loi Macron ("Macron law").[16] He was spokesperson for and a supporter of Emmanuel Macron during the campaign for the presidential election of 2017.[2] During this campaign, he was repeatedly criticised for his perceived dishonesty and tactlessness.[17][18][19][20][21]

He justified his joining with Emmanuel Macron by explaining that in politics one must be "at the right place at the right time, without necessarily knowing where you will end up". Described as ambitious, he reckons that "all politicians have an ego. Or they are liars. Recently, I downloaded La Provence at 5 a.m. to see if my picture was in that day's edition".[3] He stood in the 2017 legislative election on the La République En Marche! ticket for the 2nd constituency of the Alpes-de-Hautes-Provence and was reelected.

Government Spokesperson and Secretary of State for Relations with ParliamentEdit

On 17 May 2017 Castaner was named Secretary of State for Relations with Parliament. He was also appointed as Government Spokesperson for the Édouard Philippe government.

In October 2017, after the arrest of several far-right activists, he was named among potential targets of attacks in preparation. La France Insoumise leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon was also included among the targets.[22] The acute risk of an attack was denied by then Minister of the Interior Gérard Collomb shortly thereafter.[23][24]

Leader of La République En Marche!Edit

On 25 October 2017, a few days after Emmanuel Macron gave him his support, Castaner he declared his candidacy for the chairmanship of the La République En Marche party on RTL.[citation needed] He was elected at the first party convention on 18 November 2017.[citation needed][needs update] In his capacity as chairman, he spearheaded Macron’s efforts to forge alliances with like-minded parties across Europe ahead of the 2019 European Parliament election.[25]

Minister of the InteriorEdit

Following Gerard Collomb's resignation as Interior Minister for the Édouard Philippe government in early October 2018, Castaner was appointed Interior Minister on 16 October 2018 following an acting period by Philippe. A brief handover ceremony at the Interior Ministry was held the same day; Castaner spoke to journalists citing the issue of security as the ministry's greatest preoccupation, mentioning the "fight against terrorism".[26] In the evening, President Macron addressed the French nation in a televised broadcast, in which he announced the appointment of the new Interior Minister and Agriculture Minister over a 12 minute-long speech.

During his tenure, Castaner faced the 2018 Strasbourg attack, 2019 Lyon bombing, 2019 Paris police headquarters stabbing and 2020 Romans-sur-Isère knife attack, perpetrated by Islamic terrorists.

Yellow vest demonstrator holding a sign against Castaner during a protest in May 2019

In late 2018 and early 2019, Castaner was criticised for his handling of the yellow vests movement. Numerous scenes of police brutality were shown in international media.[27][28][29] In June 2020, in the aftermath of the yellow vests movement and the death of Cédric Chouviat in early 2020, he announced that chokeholds would no longer be taught in police academies in France as an arrest technique.[30]

On 9 March 2019, after a day of yellow vests demonstrations, Castaner, a married man, was photographed in a nightclub in Paris with an unknown young woman. The scene caused embarrassment for the Philippe government.[31]

In 2019, he was heard by the Senate amid the Benalla affair.[32]

Christophe Castaner and UK Home Secretary Priti Patel in 2019

On 1 May 2019, during Labour Day demonstrations, Castaner announced an "attack" of the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris by demonstrators, as well as the aggression of the nursing staff and a policeman. Videos and testimonies published the next day revealed that what he presented as an attack was in fact demonstrators trying to escape from police, who charged to disperse rioters. Criticised by journalists and several opposition politicians, he was accused of lying and recognised that he should not have used the term "attack".[7]

In July 2019, Castaner was again criticised for decorating five police officers who were the subject of a police brutality investigation.[33]

In the aftermath of the Paris police headquarters stabbing in October 2019, Castaner was criticised for the public statements he had made regarding the motive of the attacker. Castaner had claimed that there were no warning signs prior to the attack in the suspect's behavior, while records dating back to 2015 documented several alerts and reports concerning a possible Islamic radicalisation. The Republicans spokesman Christian Jacob called for an official inquiry, while other MPs demanded Castaner's resignation.[8]

In June 2020, Castaner announced a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Paris would be authorised to proceed despite a decree signed by the Prime Minister banning demonstrations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in France and although he had stated the week prior "gatherings were prohibited" in order to slow the spread of the virus. He was quoted saying about the fight against racism following the murder of George Floyd in the United States: "I believe that the global emotion, which is a healthy emotion on this subject, goes beyond the legal rules that apply".[9]

In July 2020, he was succeeded as Interior Minister by Budget Minister Gérald Darmanin in the new Castex government. BFM TV published as a headline: "Christophe Castaner replaced by Gérald Darmanin after two years of controversies".[34] He later returned to the National Assembly.

President of the La République En Marche group in the National AssemblyEdit

On 10 September 2020, Castaner succeeded Gilles Le Gendre as president of the La République En Marche group in the National Assembly.[35]

He was defeated in the 2022 French legislative election by Léo Walter of La France Insoumise.[36]

Political positionsEdit

In October 2020, Castaner was one of 48 LREM members who voted in support of a bill introduced by the Ecology Democracy Solidarity parliamentary group that would extend the legal deadline for abortion from 12 to 14 weeks.[37]

Summary of elected positionsEdit


18 March 2001 – 22 July 2017: Mayor of Forcalquier.

18 March 2001 – Present: municipal councillor, Forcalquier.

1 January 2003 – 12 April 2014: President of the District Council of Forcalquier-Mount Lure.

28 March 2004 – 13 July 2012: Vice President of the Regional Council of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.[38]


20 June 2012 – 17 June 2017, 21 June 2017 – 21 July 2017: Socialist member of the National Assembly for the 2nd constituency of the Alpes de Haute-Provence. Member of the Finance Committee — Special protractor of Work and Employment Budgets.

17 May 2017 – 24 November 2017: Government Spokesperson.

17 May 2017 – 16 October 2018: Secretary of State for Relations with Parliament.

18 November 2017 – 16 October 2018: Executive Officer of La République En Marche!

16 October 2018 – 6 July 2020: Minister of the Interior.


  1. ^ "Gouvernement Castex en direct : Darmanin nommé ministre de l'intérieur, Dupond-Moretti garde des sceaux et Bachelot à la culture". Le (in French). 2020-07-06.
  2. ^ a b Pietralunga, Cédric (2016-11-16). "Macron : une annonce de candidature pour engranger de nouveaux soutiens". Le (in French). ISSN 1950-6244. Retrieved 2017-10-30.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Christophe Castaner : l'enjoliveur". Libé (in French). Retrieved 2017-10-30.
  4. ^ "Gilets jaunes : violences policières, la preuve par l’image", Libération (in French), 2019-11-18.
  5. ^ "Gilets jaunes : un policier mis en examen à Bordeaux pour violences volontaires", L'Express (in French), 2020-01-08.
  6. ^ "Violences policières : le CRS qui avait jeté un pavé le 1er mai condamné à deux mois de prison avec sursis", Le Parisien (in French), 2019-12-19.
  7. ^ a b "Critiqué, Castaner reconnaît qu'il n'aurait pas dû employer le terme d'"attaque" de la Pitié-Salpêtrière". Le Le Monde. 2019-05-03. Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  8. ^ a b "Attaque à Paris : Christophe Castaner dans le collimateur de l'opposition". L'Express. 2019-05-10. Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  9. ^ a b "Castaner ne sanctionnera pas les manifestations contre le racisme : «L'émotion dépasse les règles juridiques»", Le Figaro (in French), 2020-06-09.
  10. ^ "Résultats législatives 2022: Christophe Castaner battu dans les Alpes-de-Haute-Provence". LEFIGARO (in French). 2022-06-19. Retrieved 2022-06-19.
  11. ^ C8. "Emission C8: Salut les terriens". (in French). Archived from the original on 2017-09-10. Retrieved 2017-10-30.
  12. ^ Christophe Castaner biography at the Socialist Party website
  13. ^ "Forcalquier : Christophe Castaner réélu à l'arraché - Haute Provence Info". (in French). Retrieved 2017-10-30.
  14. ^ "En Paca, la "décision lourde et difficile" de Castaner". Libé (in French). Retrieved 2017-10-30.
  15. ^ Michel Rose (16 October 2018) Factbox: France's Emmanuel Macron reshuffles government - only one big move Reuters.
  16. ^ "Macron, "faux moderne" ou "briseur de lignes"". Libé (in French). Retrieved 2017-10-30.
  17. ^ "Sur Twitter, Castaner envoie Sarkozy en prison, avant de se rétracter - Haute Provence Info". (in French). Retrieved 2017-10-30.
  18. ^ "Passe d'armes entre Fakir et un soutien de Macron". @rrêt sur images (in French). Retrieved 2017-10-30.
  19. ^ "Primaire à droite: un député PS imagine Sarkozy en prison, avant de s'excuser". (in French). 2016-11-21. Retrieved 2017-10-30.
  20. ^ "Le macroniste Castaner déforme totalement la phrase de Peillon sur Macron, "l'UMPS" et les chambres à gaz - Le Lab Europe 1" (in French). Retrieved 2017-10-30.
  21. ^ "Vu par Castaner : si Edouard Philippe détestait tant la transparence... c'était par simple discipline de groupe !". Marianne (in French). 2017-05-17. Retrieved 2017-10-30.
  22. ^ "Projet d'attentat de l'ultradroite: Mélenchon et Castaner ignoraient la menace". (in French). 2017-10-18. Retrieved 2017-10-30.
  23. ^ "Ultra-droite : Collomb minimise les menaces contre Mélenchon et Castaner". 2017-10-19. Retrieved 2017-10-30.
  24. ^ "Collomb minimise le "sérieux" de la "bande" d'extrême droite arrêtée mardi". FIGARO. 2017-10-19. Retrieved 2017-10-30.
  25. ^ Michel Rose (16 October 2018) Factbox: France's Emmanuel Macron reshuffles government - only one big move Reuters.
  26. ^ "Macron Lifts Castaner into Cabinet in Limited Ministerial Revamp". 16 October 2018.
  27. ^ "French police brutality under scrutiny", France 24, 2020-01-24.
  28. ^ "Emmanuel Macron’s Year of Cracking Heads", Foreign Policy, 2019-11-29.
  29. ^ "The violence of the French police is not new, but more people are seeing it now", The Guardian, 2020-02-13.
  30. ^ Jeanne Bulant, "Christophe Castaner confirme que la clé d'étranglement ne sera plus enseignée à l'école de police", BFM TV (in French), 2020-06-12.
  31. ^ "Des photos de Christophe Castaner en boîte de nuit suscitent la polémique". Le Figaro. 15 March 2019. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  32. ^ "Affaire Benalla : Benalla, Crase, Castaner, Le Drian convoqués devant le Sénat", RTL, 2019-01-10.
  33. ^ "Christophe Castaner a décoré des policiers soupçonnés de violences contre des "gilets jaunes"", France Info (in French), 2019-07-18.
  34. ^ Chevalier, Justine (2020-07-06). "Christophe Castaner remplacé par Gérald Darmanin après deux ans de polémiques". BFM TV (in French).
  35. ^ Tristan Quinault-Maupoil, "Christophe Castaner élu de justesse à la tête du groupe LREM à l'Assemblée", Le Figaro, 2020-09-10.
  36. ^ "Législatives : trois profils bien différents pour la 2e circo. des Alpes-de-Haute-Provence". La Provence (in French). 2017-06-08. Retrieved 2022-09-03.
  37. ^ Elisa Braun (9 October 2020), Former Macron allies ramp up pressure on green, social agenda, Politico Europe.
  38. ^ "Christophe Castaner démissionne du Conseil régional - Haute Provence Info". (in French). 2012-07-13. Retrieved 2017-10-30.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Minister of the Interior
Succeeded by