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Lionel Jospin

Lionel Jospin (born 1938) is a French statesman. Entering the French Socialist Party in 1971, he became the leader of the party when François Mitterrand was elected president in 1981, then minister of education between 1988 and 1992.

Jospin lost the presidential election against Jacques Chirac in 1995, but became Prime Minister in 1997 when Chirac called an early election — and lost.

Despite his previous image of rigid socialist, he went on selling state participations, lowered the VAT rate, the income tax, the company tax, and reduced the public debt before the introduction of the euro.
His government also introduced the 35-hour week, provided additional health insurance for the poorest, promoted the representation of women in politics, and created the PACS (a union between two people, whether of opposite genders or not).
During his term, with the help of a favorable economic situation, the unemployment fell by 900,000 people.

However, the presidential campaign of 2002 focused mainly on safety issues, in which the government had admittedly not achieved convincing results. The prime minister was also strongly criticized by the far left for his economic policy. As a result, Jospin was heavily defeated, in the first round of the election.

Following his defeat in April 2002, he decided to leave politics.

See also: Politics of France



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