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|Prime Minister of France|
3 June 1997 – 6 May 2002
|Preceded by||Alain Juppé|
|Succeeded by||Jean-Pierre Raffarin|
|Minister of National Education|
12 May 1988 – 2 April 1992
|Prime Minister||Michel Rocard
|Preceded by||René Monory|
|Succeeded by||Jack Lang|
|Minister of Sport|
10 May 1988 – 16 May 1991
|Prime Minister||Michel Rocard|
|Preceded by||Alain Calmat|
|Succeeded by||Frédérique Bredin|
12 July 1937 |
Meudon, Hauts-de-Seine, France
|Religion||Atheist, Reformed Church of France|
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 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.
Lionel Jospin was born to a Protestant family in Meudon (Hauts-de-Seine), a suburb of Paris. He is the son of Robert Jospin, a negationnist socialist close to Robert Faurisson. He attended the Lycée Janson-de-Sailly before studying at the 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 (a rank of ambassador), a position that he held until his appointment as Prime Minister in 1997. He was, however, not appointed to any embassy.
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.
Jospin served as Prime Minister during France's third "cohabitation" government under President Jacques Chirac from 1997 to 2002.
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 the lowest incomes through the creation of CMU (which made health care in France a universal right, and was regarded by Lionel Jospin and Martine Aubry as one of the “beacons” of their incumbency), promoted the representation of women in politics, expanded the social security system, 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.
Some structural barriers to employment were removed by making it easier to combine income from work with income from social transfers. Capital incomes were taxed more heavily, while various measures were introduced which benefited lower social strata and improved their purchasing power. Employees were the sole beneficiaries of lowered welfare contributions. Welfare benefits were raised, while income tax progression was increased, with tax cuts benefiting lower-income groups more strongly than higher-groups. Lower-income sections of the population received targeted support, and almost all tax measures introduced by the Jospin Government sought to stimulate demand and reduce inequality. Between 1997 and 2002, purchasing power as a proportion of household revenue from by 16%, the biggest five-year increase in over twenty years. In addition, total government spending rose 8.9% from 1997 to 2002. Altogether, the social and economic policies implemented by the Jospin Government helped to reduce social and economic inequalities, with income inequality in terms of the Gini coefficient falling between 1997 and 2001.
Other important reforms introduced by Jospin's government included:
(1.) The optimization of extra earnings for RMI recipients.
(3.) Guaranteeing supplies of telephone, water, and electricity services for the impoverished, such as by paying off outstanding bills.
(4.) Increased housing allowances and subsidized housing “concomitant with the introduction of a tax on unused apartments”.
(5.) Direct levels of assistance to groups with special problems on the labour market (including low-skilled persons, older unemployed persons, young people, and the long-term unemployed) through the provision of integration, internship, and continuing education programs, personal guidance and mentoring, and wage subsidies.
Jospin mostly steered clear of foreign policies during his time in government. 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.
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 2006, Jospin made it known that he was "available" to be the Socialist candidate for the 2007 presidential election. When Ségolène Royal became ascendant in the polls, however, Jospin retracted his candidacy in order not to "divide the party".
Prime Minister : 1997–2002.
Minister of State, Minister of National Education and Sport : 1988–1992.
Member of European Parliament : 1984–1988 (Became minister). Elected in 1984.
National Assembly of France
Member of National Assembly of France for Paris (27th constituency) : 1981–1986. Elected in 1981.
Regional councillor of Midi-Pyrénées : 1992–1997 (Resignation).
General councillor of Haute-Garonne : 1988–2002 (Resignation). Reelected in 1994, 2001.
Councillor of Paris : 1977–1986 (Resignation). Reelected in 1983.
First Secretary of the Socialist Party (France) (Leader) : 1981–1988 (Resignation) / 1995–1997 (Resignation). Reelected in 1983, 1985, 1987.
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. 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. Jospin himself stated that he had only maintained "private relationship" with OCI members after his entrance to the PS.
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). In 2001, investigative journalists and successive revelations by former Communist associates showed him to have been lying, and he confessed the truth.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Lionel Jospin|
|Party political offices|
|First Secretary of the Socialist Party
|First Secretary of the Socialist Party
|Socialist Party Presidential candidate
1995 (lost), 2002 (lost)
|Minister of National Education
|Minister of Sport
|Prime Minister of France
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