Mitterrand, François

Mitterrand, François

▪ president of France
in full  François-maurice-marie Mitterrand  
born Oct. 26, 1916, Jarnac, France
died Jan. 8, 1996, Paris
 politician who served two terms (1981–95) as president of France, leading his country to closer political and economic integration with western Europe. The first socialist to hold the office, Mitterrand abandoned leftist economic policies early in his presidency and generally ruled as a pragmatic centrist.

      The son of a stationmaster, Mitterrand studied law and political science in Paris. On the outbreak of World War II, he enlisted in the infantry and in June 1940 was wounded and captured by the Germans. After escaping from a prison camp in late 1941, he worked with the collaborationist Vichy government—a fact that did not become publicly known until 1994—before joining the Resistance in 1943.

      In 1947 he became a cabinet minister of the Fourth Republic in the coalition government of Paul Ramadier, having been elected to the National Assembly the previous year. Over the next 12 years, Mitterrand held cabinet posts in 11 short-lived Fourth Republic governments.

      Originally somewhat centrist in his views, he became more leftist in politics, and from 1958 he crystallized opposition to the regime of Charles de Gaulle (Gaulle, Charles de). In 1965 he stood against de Gaulle as the sole candidate of the socialist and communist left for the French presidency, collecting 32 percent of the vote and forcing de Gaulle into a runoff election.

      After his election as first secretary of the Socialist Party in 1971, Mitterrand began a major party reorganization, which greatly increased its electoral appeal. Although Mitterrand was defeated in his second presidential bid, in 1974, his strategy of making the Socialist Party the majority party of the left while still allied with the Communist Party led to the upset Socialist victory of May 10, 1981, when he defeated the incumbent president, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. Mitterrand called legislative elections soon after his victory, and a new left-wing majority in the National Assembly enabled his prime minister, Pierre Mauroy, to effect the reforms Mitterrand had promised. These measures included nationalizing financial institutions and key industrial enterprises, raising the minimum wage, increasing social benefits, and abolishing the death penalty. In foreign policy Mitterrand advocated a relatively hard stance toward the Soviet Union and cultivated good relations with the United States.

      Mitterrand's socialist economic policies caused increased inflation and other problems, so in 1983 the government began to cut spending. By the end of Mitterrand's first term in office, the Socialist Party had abandoned socialist policies in all but name and essentially had adopted free-market liberalism. In 1986 the parties of the right won a majority of seats in the National Assembly, and so Mitterrand had to ask one of the leaders of the right-wing majority, Jacques Chirac (Chirac, Jacques), to be his prime minister. Under this unprecedented power-sharing arrangement, known as “cohabitation,” Mitterrand retained responsibility for foreign policy. He soundly defeated Chirac in the presidential elections of 1988 and thus secured to another seven-year term.

      The newly reelected Mitterrand again called elections, and the Socialists regained a working majority in the National Assembly. His second term was marked by vigorous efforts to promote European unity and to avoid German economic domination of France by binding both countries into strong European institutions. Mitterrand was thus a leading proponent of the Treaty on European Union (1991), which provided for a centralized European banking system, a common currency, and a unified foreign policy.

      Mitterrand was less successful in domestic matters, particularly in coping with France's persistently high unemployment rate, which had risen to 12 percent by 1993. In 1991 he appointed the socialist Edith Cresson (Cresson, Edith) to be prime minister; she became the first woman in French history to hold that office. The Socialist Party suffered a crushing defeat in the legislative elections of 1993, and Mitterrand spent the last two years of his second term working with a centre-right government under Prime Minister Edouard Balladur.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем решить контрольную работу

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mitterrand, François — (1916 1996)    statesman    Born in Jarnac, François Mitterrand, after studying law, literature, and political science in Paris, served in the army in World War II. He was captured but escaped and, for a time, joined the vichy government (June… …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • Mitterrand, Francois-Maurice-Marie — ▪ 1997       French statesman (b. Oct. 26, 1916, Jarnac, Fr. d. Jan. 8, 1996, Paris, Fr.), served two terms (1982 95) as president of France, during which his top priority became the promotion of a united Europe, with close French and German… …   Universalium

  • Mitterrand, François (-Maurice-Marie) — born Oct. 26, 1916, Jarnac, France died Jan. 8, 1996, Paris President of France (1981–95). After serving in World War II, he was elected to the National Assembly (1946) and held cabinet posts in 11 Fourth Republic governments (1947–58). Moving to …   Universalium

  • Mitterrand, François (-Maurice-Marie) — (26 oct. 1916, Jarnac, Francia–8 ene. 1996, París). Presidente de Francia (1981–95). Después de participar en la segunda guerra mundial, fue elegido a la Asamblea Nacional (1946) y ocupó cargos en 11 gobiernos de la Cuarta República (1947–58). Se …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Mitterrand, François — ► (1916 96) Político francés. Ministro de Ultramar (1950 51), de Estado (1952 53), de Interior (1954 55) y de Justicia (1956 57), fue el principal líder antigaullista de la V República. En 1965 fundó la Federación de Izquierda Democrática y… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Mitterrand, François (Maurice Marie) —  (1916–1996) President of France (1981–1995) …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Mitterrand — Mitterrand, François …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Francois Mitterand — François Mitterrand Pour les articles homonymes, voir Mitterrand (homonymie). François Mitterrand …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Francois Mitterrand — François Mitterrand Pour les articles homonymes, voir Mitterrand (homonymie). François Mitterrand …   Wikipédia en Français

  • François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand — François Mitterrand Pour les articles homonymes, voir Mitterrand (homonymie). François Mitterrand …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”