(1916-) French socialist politician, president 1981–95. He held ministerial posts in 11 governments 1947–58, and founded the French Socialist Party (PS) 1971. In 1985 he introduced proportional representation, allegedly to weaken the growing opposition from left and right. From 1982 his administrations combined economic orthodoxy with social reform.
Mitterrand studied law and politics in Paris. During World War II he was prominent in the Resistance after initially being a supporter of Marshal Pétain's Vichy regime. He entered the National Assembly as a center-left deputy for Ničvre. Opposed to General de Gaulle's creation of the Fifth Republic 1958, he formed the center-left anti-Gaullist Federation of the Left in the 1960s. In 1971 he became leader of the new PS. An electoral union with the Communist Party 1972–77 established the PS as the most popular party in France.
Mitterrand was elected president 1981. His program of reform was hampered by deteriorating economic conditions after 1983. When the socialists lost their majority March 1986, he was compelled to work with a right-wing prime minister, Jacques Chirac, and grew in popularity. He defeated Chirac to secure a second term in the presidential election May 1988. In 1993 he entered a second term of “co-habitation” with the conservative prime minister Edouard Balladur. However, whereas he was able to enhance his reputation when “co-habiting” with Chirac, his popularity waned and his influence weakened in contrast with the successful premiership of Balladur. Towards the end of his presidency his failing health further weakened his hold on power.
(1916), Francuski socijalist, političar i predsednik od 1981 do 1995.