Lionel Jospin: Wikis


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Lionel Jospin

165th Prime Minister of France
16th Prime Minister of Fifth Republic
In office
3 June 1997 – 6 May 2002
President Jacques Chirac
Preceded by Alain Juppé
Succeeded by Jean-Pierre Raffarin

In office
12 May 1988 – 2 April 1992
Prime Minister Michel Rocard
Édith Cresson
Preceded by René Monory
Succeeded by Jack Lang

In office
10 May 1988 – 16 May 1991
Prime Minister Michel Rocard
Preceded by Alain Calmat
Succeeded by Frédérique Bredin

Born 12 July 1937 (1937-07-12) (age 72)
Meudon, Hauts-de-Seine, France
Political party Socialist
Spouse(s) Sylviane Agacinski
Occupation Activist
Civil servant
Religion Protestant (French Reformed)

Lionel Jospin (born 12 July 1937) is a French politician who served as Prime Minister of France, during the third "cohabitation", under Jacques Chirac, from 1997 to 2002.

Jospin was the French 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. In 2002 he was stunningly eliminated in the first round due to finishing behind both Chirac and the far-right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen, and immediately announced his retirement from politics, although he briefly campaigned for the 2007 party nomination in the autumn of 2006.



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).


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.

In 1988, after Mitterrand's re-election, he left the PS leadership, and, though the President considered naming him Prime Minister, he was nominated Minister of Education. His rivalry with Fabius intensified and caused an internal crisis, notably during the Rennes Congress (1990). Indeed, the mitterrandist group in the party split because Jospin' followers allied with the others factions to prevent the election of Fabius as First Secretary. These events damaged his relation with President Mitterrand and, after the failure of the Socialist Party at the March 1992 local elections, Jospin was not included in the new government formed by Pierre Bérégovoy.

As a member of the National Assembly, Jospin served first as a representative of Paris (1978-86), and then of Haute-Garonne département (1986-88). Jospin lost his seat in the National Assembly in the Socialists' landslide defeat in the 1993 legislative election and announced his political retirement.

In 1993, Lionel Jospin was appointed ministre plénipotentiaire, 2nd class[1] (a rank of ambassador), a position that he held until his appointment as Prime Minister in 1997.[2][3] He was, however, not appointed to any embassy.[4]

Finally, he came back and claimed the necessity to "take stock" of the mitterrandist inheritance so as to restore the credibility of the Socialist Party. In this, he was selected to be the Socialist candidate for President in 1995, against the PS leader Henri Emmanuelli. Following the Socialists' landslide defeats of 1992-1994, Jospin was considered to have little chance of victory. But he did surprisingly well, leading the first round and losing only very narrowly to Jacques Chirac in the final runnoff election. Despite defeat, his performance was seen to mark a revival of the Socialists as a strong force in French politics and he returned to being the First Secretary of the party

He built a new coalition with the other left-wing parties: the French Communist Party, the Greens, the Left Radical Party and the dissident Citizen and Republican Movement. Two years later, Chirac decided to call an early election for the National Assembly, hoping for a personal endorsement. But the move backfired as the "Plural Left" obtained a parliamentary majority and Jospin became Prime Minister.

Member of the Club of Madrid.[5]

Political career

Governmental functions

Prime Minister : 1997-2002.

Minister of State, Minister of National Education and Sport : 1988-1992.

Electoral mandates

European Parliament

Member of European Parliament : 1984-1988 (Became minister). Elected in 1984.

National Assembly of France

Member of National Assembly of France for Paris : 1981-1986. Elected in 1981.

Member of National Assembly of France for Haute-Garonne : 1986-1988 (Became minister) / 1992-1993. Elected in 1986, reelected in 1988, 1992.

Regional Council

Regional councillor of Midi-Pyrenees : 1992-1997 (Resignation).

General Council

General councillor of Haute-Garonne : 1988-2002 (Resignation). Reelected in 1994, 2001.

Municipal Council

Councillor of Paris : 1977-1986 (Resignation). Reelected in 1983.

Political function

First Secretary of the Socialist Party (France) (Leader) : 1981-1988 (Resignation) / 1995-1997 (Resignation). Reelected in 1983, 1985, 1987.

Prime Minister

Despite his previous image as a rigid socialist, Jospin went on selling state-owned enterprises, lowered the VAT rate, income tax and company tax.

His government also introduced the 35-hour workweek, provided additional health insurance for those on lowest incomes, promoted the representation of women in politics, and created the PACS - a civil partnership or union between two people, whether of opposite genders or not. During his term, with the help of a favorable economic situation, unemployment fell by 900,000. There were several women but no members of ethnic minorities in Jospin's government.

Jospin mostly steered clear of foreign policies during his ministerial positions. However, in 2000, he denounced Hezbollah's "terrorist attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilian populations", a position markedly more pro-Israel than that of president Chirac. On 26 February, when visiting Birzeit University, stones were thrown at him by Palestinian students, resulting in a minor injury.[1]

Jospin (right) with Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg

Jospin was a candidate in the presidential campaign of 2002. While he appeared to have momentum in the early stages, the campaign came to be focused mainly on law-and-order issues, in which, it was argued, the government had not achieved convincing results; this coincided with a strong focus of the media on a number of egregious crime cases. The Prime Minister was also strongly criticized by the far left for his moderate economic policies, which, they contended, were not markedly different from that of a right-wing government favoring businesses and free markets. Many left-wing candidates contested the election, gaining small percentages of the vote in the first ballot, chipping away at Jospin's support. As a result, Jospin narrowly polled in third place, behind Chirac and the Front National leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, and thus did not go through to the runoff second round of voting.

Following his defeat in April 2002, Jospin immediately declared his decision to leave politics and stepped down as Prime Minister. He has since made episodic comments on current political affairs; for instance, he declared his opposition to same-sex marriage. In 2005, he returned to the national political scene by campaigning forcefully in favor of the proposed European Constitution.

In autumn 2006, he declared he was "available" to be the Socialist candidate to the 2007 presidential election. However with Ségolène Royal looking to win it, Jospin renounced his candidacy in order not to "divide the party".

Trotskyist affiliation

On 5 June 2001, Lionel Jospin confessed before the Parliament that he had maintained links with a trotskyist formation "in the 1960s" and had maintained links with Pierre Lambert's party (the Internationalist Communist Organization, OCI) after his entrance in the Socialist Party in 1971 [6]. Jospin was recruited into the OCI, when he was studying at the ENA, by Boris Fraenkel, one of the founder of the OCI. He became an active member of the OCI after quitting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1968, under the pseudonym of "Michel." Although he declined to locate with precision his rupture with the Lambertists, Le Monde newspaper alleged it was in 1986-87, a year before becoming minister, while Lambert himself implicitly situated it in 1988 [6]. Jospin himself stated that he had only maintained "private relationship" with OCI members after his entrance to the PS [7].

Jospin had concealed before this relationship with the OCI, which followed a strategy of entrism into other parties, and specifically denied it when asked about it later (he claimed in 1995 that this rumor came from a confusion with his brother Olivier [6]). In 2001, investigative journalists and successive revelations by former Communist associates showed him to have been lying, and he confessed the truth. Having lied hurt him politically more than having been in a cell of the revolutionary left, and the political damage was not severe or long-lasting in France — where a number of left-wing and right-wing politicians have been found to have had stints with radical groups in their youth, then later denying them or blaming them on youthful indiscretion (see Occident, Alain Madelin for instance).

Jospin's Ministry, 2 June 1997 - 6 May 2002


  • 20 October 1998 - Jean Glavany succeeds Le Pensec as Minister of Agriculture and Forests.
  • 2 November 1999 - Christian Sautter succeeds Strauss-Kahn as Minister of Economy, Finance, and Industry.
  • 28 March 2000 - Laurent Fabius succeeds Sautter as Minister of Economy, Finance, and Industry. Jack Lang succeeds Allègre as Minister of National Education, while Roger-Gérard Schwartzenberg succeeds him as Minister of Research and Technology. Catherine Tasca succeeds Trautmann as Minister of Culture and Communication. Michel Sapin succeeds Zuccarelli as Minister of Civil Service and Reform of the State.
  • 29 August 2000 - Daniel Vaillant succeeds Chevènement as Minister of the Interior. Jean-Jack Queyranne succeeds Vaillant as Minister of Relations with Parliament.
  • 18 October 2000 - Elisabeth Guigou succeeds Aubry as Minister of Employment and Solidarity. Marylise Lebranchu succeeds Guigou as Minister of Justice.
  • 10 July 2001 - Yves Cochet succeeds Voynet as Minister of Environment and Regional Planning.
  • 25 February 2002 - François Patriat succeeds Glavany as Minister of Agriculture and Forests.

See also


  1. ^ Décret du 1er mars 1993 portant nomination au grade de ministre plénipotentiaire de 2e classe (agents diplomatiques et consulaires)
  2. ^ Decree of 2 June 1997 of president Jacques Chirac appointing Lionel Jospin Prime Minister
  3. ^ Arrêté du 3 juillet 1997 portant détachement (agents diplomatiques et consulaires)
  4. ^ Jean-Michel Aphatie, [ Comment Jospin a ressuscité Jospin], L'Express, 5 June 1997
  5. ^ (English) [ The Club of Madrid is an independent organization dedicated to strengthening democracy around the world by drawing on the unique experience and resources of its Members – 66 democratic former heads of state and government. ]
  6. ^ a b c Le Monde, 1 January 2002, "L'aveu de Lionel Jospin sur ses 'relations' avec une formation trotskiste
  7. ^ L'aveu de Lionel Jospin, Radio France International, June 2002 (French)

External links


Party political offices
Preceded by
François Mitterrand
First Secretary of the Socialist Party
Succeeded by
Pierre Mauroy
Preceded by
Henri Emmanuelli
First Secretary of the Socialist Party
Succeeded by
François Hollande
Preceded by
François Mitterrand
Socialist Party Presidential candidate
1995 (lost), 2002 (lost)
Succeeded by
Ségolène Royal
Political offices
Preceded by
René Monory
Minister of National Education
Succeeded by
Jack Lang
Preceded by
Christian Bergelin
Minister of Sport
Succeeded by
Frédérique Bredin
Preceded by
Alain Juppé
Prime Minister of France
Succeeded by
Jean-Pierre Raffarin

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