Lionel Jospin

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Lionel Jospin (French pronunciation: [ljɔnɛl ʒɔspɛ̃]; born 12 July 1937) is a French politician who served as Prime Minister of France from 1997 to 2002.

Jospin was the Socialist Party candidate for President of France in the elections of 1995 and 2002. He was narrowly defeated in the final runoff election by Jacques Chirac in 1995. He ran for President again in 2002, and was stunningly eliminated in the first round due to finishing behind both Chirac and the far-right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen, following which he immediately announced his retirement from politics.

Contents

Biography

Early life

Lionel Jospin was born to a Protestant family in Meudon (Hauts-de-Seine), a suburb of Paris. He studied at Institut d'études politiques de Paris and the École nationale d'administration (ENA). He was active in the UNEF students' union, protesting against the war in Algeria (1954–62). He completed his military service as an officer in charge of Armoured training in Trier (Germany).

Career

After his graduation from the ENA in 1965, he entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as secretary of Foreign Affairs. He became in charge of economical cooperation there, and worked with Ernest-Antoine Seillière, future leader of the MEDEF employers' union.

Representative of a generation of left-wingers who criticized the old SFIO Socialist Party, he joined a Trotskyist group, the Internationalist Communist Organization (OCI) in the 1960s, before entering the renewed Socialist Party (PS) in 1971. Integrating François Mitterrand's circle, he became the second highest-ranking member of the party in 1979, then its First Secretary when Mitterrand was elected President of France in 1981. When President Mitterrand decided, in 1982-1983, to change his economic policy in giving the priority at the struggle against inflation and for a hard currency, Jospin justified his choice in saying the Socialist power open just a "parenthesis". In 1984, when Laurent Fabius was chosen as Prime minister, a rivalry appeared between these two political heirs of Mitterrand. It broke out when they competed for the leadership of the 1986 legislative campaign.

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