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Obituary: Yann Piat

Yann Piat, politician: born Saigon 12 June 1949; Deputy for Hyeres (Var) 1986-94; married (two daughters); died Hyeres 25 February 1994.

YANN PIAT first became famous in France after the general election of June 1988. It was then that her party, the National Front, led by Jean-Marie Le Pen, was reduced from 35 deputies (who had been elected under proportional representation in 1986) to only one, Yann Piat. The National Front was disappointed but hid that disappointment by being bombastic. Yann Piat, they said, will make more noise in the Assembly than would 40 other deputies. And since she was the god-daughter of Le Pen himself, she was expected to play a great role.

But this was not to be. It is difficult for a single member who is not part of an official group to make an impact on the National Assembly. In any case her main interests were local. She had been the organiser of the National Front in the Toulon- Hyeres district from 1977 and was its Secretary for the Department of the Var when she was first elected deputy for Hyeres in 1986. But worse was to follow. In September 1988 Le Pen made one of his infamous jokes, a play on words which involved the gas-ovens of the Nazis. Piat, like everyone, was shocked and she protested about 'schoolboy dormitory jokes' and of her godfather's 'maladroit irony'. She also objected to the control to which she was being subjected. On 10 October 1988 she was expelled from the National Front.

Her activities over several years were directed against the Mafia and drug dealers in her department. She intended to stand in the forthcoming municipal elections and hoped to become Mayor of Hyeres. It is now called the 'Chicago of the Midi'. She intended to clean it up. Perhaps that is why she was assassinated.