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Bomb in Former Cabinet Minister’s Car Kills Driver

December 15, 1986

PROVINS, France (AP) _ A bomb demolished former Justice Minister Alain Peyrefitte’s car and killed his driver Monday. Peyrefitte, who now writes editorials for a conservative newspaper, was not in the vehicle.

An anonymous telephone caller to the city hall said the bomb was planted by Direct Action, but the leftist terrorist group previously has used only written statements or leaflets to claim responsibility for attacks. Police would not comment on the telephone call.

Interior Minister Charles Pasqua did not confirm the Direct Action connection directly but said in a televised interview that ″those who have declared war on the Europe of bosses″ - as it has done - ″did not hesitate to take the risk of killing workers.″

Direct Action has claimed responsibility for many bombings and shootings in recent years, most recently the Nov. 17 slaying of Georges Besse, president of the state-owned Renault auto company.

Peyrefitte, who has been mayor of Provins since 1965, said investigators told him several pounds of plastic explosive were placed under the car, apparently set to go off when the engine was started.

The 61-year-old former Cabinet minister is an editorial writer for the conservative daily Le Figaro. He said the car belonged to the city and was put at his disposal every weekend.

Peyrefitte said he used his personal car during the weekend because he could not find the keys to the Citroen BX owned by Provins, a city of 15,000 about 53 miles east of Paris.

The bomb reduced the car to cinders and killed Serge Langer, 51, a city mechanic and one of several people who occasionally drove for Peyrefitte. Langer had gone to the mayor’s house to pick up the car.

″I’m shaken by the horrible and unjust death of this employee,″ Peyrefitte said. He added that he had not received threats but believed he became a target because of his outspoken editorials printed regularly on the front page of Le Figaro, the newspaper closest to Premier Jacques Chirac’s center-right government.

″I’m the symbol of the simple idea that there’s no liberty without order in a society,″ he once said in a television interview.

Condemnation of the attack came from all political camps.

″I note that one more time blind violence strikes in a scandalous, shameful fashion,″ said Jean Poperen, speaking for President Francois Mitterrand’s Socialist Party.

Peyrefitte was information minister under President Charles de Gaulle in the 1960s and served as education minister during the student revolt of May 1968.

He was environment minister under President Valery Giscard d’Estaing in the 1970s and justice minister in 1977-81. Giscard’s government left office with the Socialist election victory of 1981.

The former minister has retained his National Assembly seat as a member of Chirac’s neo-Gaullist Rally for the Republic party.

Peyrefitte has represented the Provins region in Parliament since 1958 and was in the diplomatic service before that. He has written nearly a dozen books and was elected to the French Academy in 1977.

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