Patassé with Bozizé in the background
Patassé was born in January 25, 1937, in Paoua. He graduated from the Superior Academy of Tropical Agriculture in Nogent-sur-Marne, France, in 1959, a year before independence. In December 1965, President David Dacko appointed him director of Agriculture and Minister of Development.
In 1966, Jean-Bédel Bokassa took power. Patassé gained favor with him and became minister in many offices throughout the years. In Decenber 8, 1976, Bokassa named him prime minister. A year later, Patassé joined an extravagant ceremony in which Bokassa was crowned emperor. However, he fell in disgrace. He was stripped of all his offices and fled to Paris.
When Bokassa was deposed in a French invasion, David Dacko, who had been restore, ordered Patassé into house arrest. He attempted to escape to Chad, but was arrested again. He was later freed for health reasons.
He became candidate in the elections of 1981 and won 35%, but Dacko remained in power. André Kolingba deposed Dacko in a military coup. Political parties were made illegal, and Patassé fled to France. He participated in a failed coup in 1982, but was defeated and fled to Togo and then France.
He participated in the 1993 elections, and deefated Kolingba, finally becoming the first civilian president in the history of the Central African Republic. In May 1996, there was a violent anti-French revolt, which was supressed with the help of François Bozizé. Another revolt occurred in early 1997, which was crushed thanks to François Bozizé and troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Gabon, Mali, Senegal, and Togo.
Patassé left the country for a conference in Niger in 2003, and he was deposed by Bozizé. Although the coup was internationaly condemned, no attempt was made to depose the new leader. Patassé is living in exile in Togo