Lionel Jospin

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Lionel Jospin, 2008

Lionel Jospin [ ljɔˌnɛl ʒɔsˈpɛ̃ ] (born July 12, 1937 in Meudon , Département Seine-et-Oise , today Département Hauts-de-Seine ) is a French politician of the Socialist Party ( Parti socialiste ) . During the third cohabitation from 1997 to 2002 he was Prime Minister of the Fifth Republic under President Jacques Chirac .


Jospin was born on July 12, 1937, the second of four children in Meudon , a south-western suburb of Paris . He comes from a Protestant family with a left-wing extremist orientation. His father Robert Jospin , professor of philosophy and later head of a school for difficult to educate young people, was an activist of the socialist party SFIO ( Section française de l'Internationale ouvrière ) , the predecessor party of the Socialist Party (Parti socialiste) . His mother Mireille Dandieu (married Jospin) was successively midwife , nurse and carer.

Jospin has three children from two marriages.

Education and career

From 1956 to 1959 he studied political science at the Institut d'études politiques de Paris . In 1961 he managed the admission competition at the ENA (École nationale d'administration) , another grande école . Immediately after receiving the notification of admission, he did his military service, with training in Trier and at the reserve officers' school in Saumur .

In 1963 he began studying at ENA on, in the year Stendhal ( Promotion Stendhal ), which also includes Jean-Pierre Chevènement and Jacques Toubon belonged. He did his internship in the prefecture of Bourges , the internship in mining companies in the departments of Nord and Pas-de-Calais .

After graduating from the ENA , Jospin became Legation Councilor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Department of Economic Affairs.

In October 1970, Jospin took a leave of absence from the Foreign Ministry to take on a professorship in economics at the University of Paris XI . He later became head of the Institut Universitaire de Technologie (IUT) there, a position he held until his entry into the National Assembly in mid-1981.

After the party congress in Epinay (June 11-13 , 1971), he joined the Socialist Party ( PS ) .

In 1981 Jospin succeeded François Mitterrand as Chairman (Premier Secrétaire) of the Socialist Party . From 1984 to 1988 he was an elected member of the European Parliament .

Lionel Jospin in the 1983 federal election campaign for the SPD

In 1988 Jospin became Minister of Education in the Rocard I cabinet . He also held this office in the Rocard II cabinet and in the Cresson cabinet (May 1991 to April 1992). He reformed teacher training and redesigned the university landscape. However, the high school protest of 1990 weakened him. His rivalry with Laurent Fabius , which had intensified at the 1990 PS party conference in Rennes, divided the PS. Jospin turned away from Mitterrand; in the Bérégovoy cabinet he was no longer given a ministerial office. After his defeat in the parliamentary elections in 1993 , he resigned all functions within the PS and considered withdrawing from politics, especially by demanding a post as ambassador, which the then Foreign Minister Alain Juppé opposed .

In 1995 he reported back after Jacques Delors renounced a presidential candidacy and asserted himself against the party leader Henri Emmanuelli as a presidential candidate of the socialists. Although he was already traded as a loser, he managed the surprise and took the lead in the first round in front of the rivals of the RPR Jacques Chirac and Édouard Balladur and achieved an acceptable result in the second round (47.4 vs. 52.6% for Jacques Chirac). Jospin became party leader again and led the opposition . He allied himself with the Communist Party, the Greens, the left-wing liberals ( Mouvement des Radicaux de Gauche ) and the citizens' movement ( Mouvement des citoyens ) to create a pluralist left (" Gauche plurielle "), which emerged in the 1997 parliamentary elections the dissolution of parliament on April 21, 1997 by President Chirac enforced.

prime minister

With the appointment of Jospin as prime minister by the bourgeois president Jacques Chirac on June 2, 1997, the third so-called cohabitation began .

Jospin, considered to be rigid, formed a government around a core of confidants such as Dominique Strauss-Kahn , Claude Allègre and Martine Aubry . It was Aubry who kept the socialists' most important election promise with the 35-hour week . Although Jospin was held in high regard, he had to part with the hard core of his government; Claude Allègre gave up the Ministry of Education under pressure from the education unions, Strauss-Kahn resigned from an investigation into a judicial scandal . During the massive government reshuffle in 2000, Jospin finally brought the so-called elephants of the Socialist Party into government, his rival Laurent Fabius as Minister of Economics and Jack Lang as Minister of Education.

The end of the term of office resulted from the failure of Jospin at a renewed attempt for the presidency. On April 21, 2002, Jospin ran again for president, but in the first ballot behind the incumbent Jacques Chirac (19.9%) and Jean-Marie Le Pen (17.9%) with 16.2 percent of the vote third place. Since there were several candidates from the left and thus none of them could get enough votes in the first ballot, there was no socialist in the runoff for the first time. There were considerable protests against the right-wing extremist candidate Le Pen, so that Jacques Chirac was finally re-elected to office with an overwhelming majority. Jospin then resigned from the office of prime minister and announced his departure from active politics.

After 2002

Although he had announced his exit from politics after the failure of the presidential election, Jospin interfered again and again in the political debate inside and outside the Socialist Party. For the first time in three years since his retirement, he accepted the invitation from France 2 to broadcast Question ouverte on April 28, 2005 to justify his approval of the referendum on the European Constitution .

In 2005 his book The World as I See It (Le monde comme je le vois) was published , which contains a polemical settlement with the critics of the European Constitution and sparked speculation about a new candidacy. On November 26, 2005, however, Jospin restricted on Radio Europe 1 that he would not be a candidate for candidacy (candidat à la candidature) within the Parti socialiste in view of the presidency and that in April 2002 he had finally withdrawn from active politics . However, on several occasions he indicated that he would be ready if the socialists asked him.

Jospin with his wife Sylviane Agacinski at the César Awards 2011

On August 26, 2006, Jospin spoke up again, but still does not comment on a possible candidacy. On September 4, he said, to be able to fulfill the task of the head of state, but on September 28 he repeated, not a candidate for the candidacy to want to be.

Before Ségolène Royal ( President of the Regional Council of Poitou-Charentes ) was nominated on November 16, 2006 as the presidential candidate of the Socialist Party , he refused to support her. He then revised his position on his personal weblog .

In December 2014 Lionel Jospin was appointed a member of the Conseil constitutionnel by the President of the National Assembly, Claude Bartolone . He will replace the late Jacques Barrot there and complete his term of office until 2019.


  • Jospin played himself in The People's Name , a 2010 French film directed by Michel Leclerc
  • In his book “Le mal napoléonien” ( The Napoleonic Evil ), published in 2014, he criticizes the “golden legends” of Napoléon Bonaparte , which have determined his image among his compatriots to this day. In reality, it created a totalitarian regime with censorship and propaganda in the modern sense. Moreover, his campaigns across Europe would have had only negative consequences for France. They would have poisoned the relationship between the French and the other nations for generations.

Individual evidence

  1. seventh electoral term ( French VIIe législature )
  2. for the context see e.g. B. Christine Pütz: Party change in France: Presidential elections and parties between tradition and adaptation , VS 2004, p. 138 ff. ( Online )
  3. ^ Entry on Lionel Jospin in the European Parliament 's database of deputies
  4. Lionel Jospin ( Memento of the original from January 3, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. ^ Conseil constitutionnel: Lionel Jospin va remplacer Jacques Barrot
  6. ^ Website for the film
  7. Le Fiagoro, January 31, 2014 [1]


  • Le temps de répondre , entretiens avec Alain Duhamel, 2002.
  • Le monde comme je le vois , Paris 2005.
  • L'impasse , Paris 2007.
  • Lionel Raconte Jospin. Entretiens avec Pierre Favier and Patrick Rotman , Paris 2010.
  • Le mal napoléonien , Paris 2014.

Web links

Commons : Lionel Jospin  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files