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Francois Mitterrand

Francois Mitterrand




François Mitterrand, born on October 26, 1916, was a prominent French politician who served as President of France from 1981 to 1995, making him the longest-serving president in French history. Initially aligned with the Catholic nationalist right, Mitterrand later joined the Resistance during World War II and shifted to the left, serving in ministerial positions under the Fourth Republic.

Despite political isolation at times, Mitterrand emerged as the left's standard bearer in the 1965 and 1974 presidential elections before winning the presidency in 1981. He was re-elected in 1988 and remained in office until 1995. Mitterrand's presidency was characterized by a mix of socialist economic policies, social liberalism, and pragmatic foreign and defense policies.

In his first government, Mitterrand controversially included the Communist Party, but they eventually left the cabinet in 1984. He pursued a radical left-wing economic agenda initially, including nationalizations and the 39-hour work week, before shifting to a socially liberal agenda. Mitterrand faced controversy, such as the Rainbow Warrior bombing in 1985, but also advanced European integration and appointed the first female prime minister, Édith Cresson, in 1991.

Throughout his presidency, Mitterrand faced periods of "cohabitation" with conservative cabinets due to the loss of a parliamentary majority. He died less than eight months after leaving office, succumbing to prostate cancer he had concealed during most of his presidency.

Mitterrand's legacy includes making the French Left electable, the rise of the Socialist Party, and the decline of the Communist Party. Under his leadership, the Communists saw a significant decrease in popular support, from 21.27% in 1969 to 8.66% in 1995.


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Date of Birth: October 26, 1916

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