The European Parliament is the only parliamentary institution of the European Union, directly elected by EU citizens aged 18 or older. Together with the Council of the European Union, which should not be confused with the European Council and the Council of Europe, it exercises the legislative function of the EU; the Parliament is composed of 751 members, that will become 705 starting from the 2019–2024 legislature, who represent the second-largest democratic electorate in the world and the largest trans-national democratic electorate in the world. It has been directly elected by the European citizens every five years and by universal suffrage since 1979. However, voter turnout at European Parliament elections has fallen consecutively at each election since that date, has been under 50% since 1999. Voter turnout in 2014 stood at 42.54% of all European voters. Although the European Parliament has legislative power, as does the Council, it does not formally possess legislative initiative, as most national parliaments of European Union member states do.
The Parliament is the "first institution" of the EU, shares equal legislative and budgetary powers with the Council. It has equal control over the EU budget; the European Commission, the executive body of the EU, is accountable to Parliament. In particular, Parliament elects the President of the Commission, approves the appointment of the Commission as a whole, it can subsequently force the Commission as a body to resign by adopting a motion of censure. The President of the European Parliament is Antonio Tajani, elected in January 2017, he presides over a multi-party chamber, the two largest groups being the Group of the European People's Party and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats. The last union-wide elections were the 2014 elections; the European Parliament has three places of work -- Luxembourg City and Strasbourg. Luxembourg City is home to the administrative offices. Meetings of the whole Parliament take place in Brussels. Committee meetings are held in Brussels; the Parliament, like the other institutions, was not designed in its current form when it first met on 10 September 1952.
One of the oldest common institutions, it began as the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community. It was a consultative assembly of 78 appointed parliamentarians drawn from the national parliaments of member states, having no legislative powers; the change since its foundation was highlighted by Professor David Farrell of the University of Manchester: "For much of its life, the European Parliament could have been justly labelled a'multi-lingual talking shop'."Its development since its foundation shows how the European Union's structures have evolved without a clear "master plan". Some, such as Tom Reid of the Washington Post, said of the union: "nobody would have deliberately designed a government as complex and as redundant as the EU"; the Parliament's two seats, which have switched several times, are a result of various agreements or lack of agreements. Although most MEPs would prefer to be based just in Brussels, at John Major's 1992 Edinburgh summit, France engineered a treaty amendment to maintain Parliament's plenary seat permanently at Strasbourg.
The body was not mentioned in the original Schuman Declaration. It was assumed or hoped that difficulties with the British would be resolved to allow the Council of Europe's Assembly to perform the task. A separate Assembly was introduced during negotiations on the Treaty as an institution which would counterbalance and monitor the executive while providing democratic legitimacy; the wording of the ECSC Treaty demonstrated the leaders' desire for more than a normal consultative assembly by using the term "representatives of the people" and allowed for direct election. Its early importance was highlighted when the Assembly was given the task of drawing up the draft treaty to establish a European Political Community. By this document, the Ad Hoc Assembly was established on 13 September 1952 with extra members, but after the failure of the proposed European Defence Community the project was dropped. Despite this, the European Economic Community and Euratom were established in 1958 by the Treaties of Rome.
The Common Assembly was shared by all three communities and it renamed itself the European Parliamentary Assembly. The first meeting was held on 19 March 1958 having been set up in Luxembourg City, it elected Schuman as its president and on 13 May it rearranged itself to sit according to political ideology rather than nationality; this is seen as the birth of the modern European Parliament, with Parliament's 50 years celebrations being held in March 2008 rather than 2002. The three communities merged their remaining organs as the European Communities in 1967, the body's name was changed to the current "European Parliament" in 1962. In 1970 the Parliament was granted power over areas of the Communities' budget, which were expanded to the whole budget in 1975. Under the Rome Treaties, the Parliament should have become elected. However, the Council was required to agree a uni
Georges René Louis Marchais was the head of the French Communist Party from 1972 to 1994, a candidate in the French presidential elections of 1981. Born into a Roman Catholic family, he became a mechanic, just before the beginning of World War II, with the Société Nationale d'Étude et de Construction de Moteurs d'Aviation. After the fall of France, he went to Nazi Germany to work in the Messerschmitt aircraft manufacturing plant, he returned to France in May 1943 with forged documents. In 1946, he became secretary of the metalworkers' trade union in Issy-les-Moulineaux, advanced in the Confédération générale du travail in his commune from 1951, becoming secretary of the Seine Metallurgical Workers' Union Federation from 1953 to 1956, he joined the party in 1947. In 1956, he was appointed a member of the extended Central Committee and lead the South-Seine PCF local federation, in the bastion of Maurice Thorez, the historical leader of the Party. Three years he became a full member of the Central Committee and of the Politburo.
His lightning promotion was explained by his devotion to Thorez. Indeed, he was part of the young guard of the General Secretary which participated to the strengthening of Maurice Thorez's leadership, covertly disputed by some members of the Politburo. In 1961, after the ousting of these, he was nominated secretary for organization, he supported the new General Secretary Waldeck Rochet and in his policy of conciliation with the other left-wing parties. In reaction to the riots of May 1968, in a controversial article published in the party's paper L'Humanité, Marchais showed his contempt for Daniel Cohn-Bendit by calling him a "German anarchist", he accused some students of being "false revolutionaries" coming from the bourgeoisie. From on, he was one of the personalities intervening in the media in the name of the PCF; when Rochet fell ill, in 1970, he was promoted junior General Secretary. In fact, he was at this moment the real leader of the PCF. In this, he co-signed the Common Programme with the Socialist Party and the Movement of Left Radicals in June 1972.
From 1973 to 1997, he was deputy of a southern Paris suburb. In December 1972, he became General Secretary, following Waldeck Rochet's retirement. At first, he pursued the policy of his predecessor in favour of the "Union of the Left". In this, the PCF sided with François Mitterrand's candidacy in the 1974 presidential election. At the beginning of his mandate of General Secretary, the PCF scored around 20% in the elections, but in mid-1970s, it lost its place of "first left-wing party" to François Mitterrand's Socialist Party. At the beginning, he supported reforms in the party, which participated to Eurocommunism with the Italian Communist Party of Enrico Berlinguer and the Spanish Communist Party of Santiago Carrillo and renounced the notion of a dictatorship of the proletariat. At first, he faced with the reproaches of Soviet leaders. Faced with electoral growing of the PS at the expense of his party, he imposed a re-alignment on the Soviet Union at the end of the 1970s; the left-wing parties failed to update their Common Programme and lost the 1978 legislative election though they were leading in the polls.
Outside and inside the party, he was accused of being responsible for this defeat. One year he supported the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, judged the Communist governments "fairly positive", criticized the "right-wing drift" of the Socialist Party. In the 1981 presidential election, he came fourth in the first round, with 15% of votes, thereafter endorsing Mitterrand, who won the second round, he negotiated the entry of four PCF's politician in the cabinet of Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy. In 1984, after President Mitterrand renounced the left's Common Programme and the electoral sanction in the European Parliament election the PCF's ministers resigned from the cabinet. An electoral decline ensued and Marchais faced internal dissent from figures such as Pierre Juquin, Claude Poperen and former ministers as Charles Fiterman. Indeed, some party members, notably among the locally elected, accused him of leading a suicidal strategy, he accused them of plotting with Mitterrand. He let André Lajoinie, leader of the Communist group in the French National Assembly, represent the party in the 1988 presidential election.
He was reserved about perestroika. Unlike the Italian Communists, he refused to change the name of the French party after the collapse of the Soviet bloc. In 1994, at the 28th Congress of the PCF, he ceded his place as General Secretary to Robert Hue, although he maintained his titular role as a member of the Politburo - now renamed the National Office; the same year, he became President of the PCF Comité pour la défense des libertés et droits de l'homme en France et dans le monde. He criticized the renovation of the party under his successor, he died in 1997. Georges Marchais was a notable personality because of his mannerisms and brusque demeanor lambasted by comic Thierry Le Luron, he is remembered for an outburst to journalist Jean-Pierre Elkabbach, Taisez-vous Elkabbach, not ever said by Marchais. During his TV performances, which stayed in the memory of French audiences, his tone with journalists and opponents was aggressive and humorous. For inst
2019 European Parliament election in France
The 2019 European Parliament election in France will be held on 26 May 2019, electing members of the 9th French delegation to the European Parliament as part of the European elections held across the European Union. The election will feature two major changes since the 2014 election, with the abolition of regional constituencies and return to national lists in addition to the increase in the number of French seats from 74 to 79 which will take effect upon the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, it will be the first national election in France since the election of Emmanuel Macron as president of France and therefore the first major electoral test of his presidency, approaching amid low approval ratings for Macron and his government. Nathalie Loiseau will lead the campaign for La République En Marche!, which will run along with its allies in the election, including the Democratic Movement, the newly-founded centre-right party Agir, the Radical Movement, but will not have the support of the Union of Democrats and Independents, which will present an independent list.
Several lead candidates are notable for their youth: at 23 years of age, Jordan Bardella will lead the list of the National Rally, while 29-year-old Manon Aubry will lead that of La France Insoumise and 33-year-old François-Xavier Bellamy was selected to lead the list of The Republicans. Party leaders, will remain absent, though Nicolas Dupont-Aignan hopes to lead Debout la France to an electoral breakthrough in an election in which souverainist and Eurosceptic parties traditionally perform strongly. With the political landscape on the left fractured between numerous parties and movements, several will be at risk of falling short of 5% electoral threshold to secure seats. Threatened by their electoral weakness, the Socialist Party, French Communist Party, Génération.s each called for unity on the left, but failed to cement any alliances. At the same time, Jean-Luc Mélenchon ruled out alliances with the other main parties on the left and Yannick Jadot, lead candidate for Europe Ecology – The Greens, categorically ruled out the party's participation in any common list.
After failed efforts to create a common list on the left, the Socialist Party rallied behind Raphaël Glucksmann, who founded Place Publique in an attempt to unite the various chapels of the left, meaning that the PS will not lead an autonomous list for the first time since 1979, the year of the first European Parliament elections. Following the gilets jaunes protests, several parties sought to incorporate figures from the movement into their electoral lists, in addition to numerous efforts by some figures within the movement to present their own list in the election. Starting from the 2004 European Parliament election, France was divided into eight large regional electoral constituencies for the purposes of European Parliament elections with members elected by proportional representation; the electoral system changed ahead of the 2019 election, with broad support in the French political class for a return to a national vote. On 29 November, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced that all parties consulted except for The Republicans supported returning to national lists, confirmed the intention of the government to prepare a bill to change the voting system to that end, bill was unveiled on 3 January 2018, preserving the 5% threshold for representation and 3% for reimbursement of campaign expenses.
The possibility of transnational lists following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union was considered. The return to national lists in effect benefits smaller parties which were disadvantaged by the system of large regional constituencies, while larger parties would win fewer seats. On 23 January 2018, the European Parliament Committee on Constitutional Affairs adopted a proposal to reduce the size of the hemicycle from 751 to 705, splitting 27 former British seats between 14 underrepresented member states of which France was set to gain 5, increasing its representation from 74 to 79. On 7 February, the European Parliament voted 368 to 274 against the principle of reallocating British seats to transnational lists, though the idea's fate was in the hands of the European Council. In France, the bill creating a single national constituency was approved by a vote the National Assembly vote on the first reading on 20 February 2018, the Senate adopted the bill on 23 May 2018, promulgated on 25 June after its validation by the Constitutional Council.
The speaking time for each of the parties was amended to be proportional to the size of parliamentary groups in the National Assembly, a change criticized by the opposition, which believed that the reallocation favored the governing majority. As the European elections are scheduled from 23 to 26 May 2019 and French votes are traditionally held on Sundays, the next European election in France will be held on 26 May 2019. Declarations of lists and candidacies must be submitted between 23 April and 3 May 2019, while voting in the overseas territories will take place on 25 May 2019. On 23 September 2018, the national congress of the Association of Rural Mayors of France announced that they would refuse to directly transmit the results of the elections to the state on the night of the election to voice their discontent with the lack of attention given by the government to rural policy; the 3 February 2019 edition of Le Journal du Dimanche revealed that Macron was interested in holding a referendum concurrent with the European elections on 26 May to conclude the grand débat national and end the gilets
Rally for the Republic
The Rally for the Republic, was a Neo-Gaullist and conservative political party in France. Originating from the Union of Democrats for the Republic, it was founded by Jacques Chirac in 1976 and presented itself as the heir of Gaullist politics. On 21 September 2002, the RPR was merged into the Union for the Presidential Majority renamed the Union for a Popular Movement. In 1974, the divisions in the Gaullist movement permitted the election of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing to the Presidency of the French Republic. Representing the pro-European and Orleanist centre-right, he was the first non-Gaullist rising to the head of the state since the beginning of the Fifth Republic in 1958. However, the Gaullist Party remained the main force in parliament and Jacques Chirac was appointed Prime Minister. Chirac resigned in August 1976 and in December 1976 the RPR was created in order to restore the Gaullist domination over the republican institutions. Though retaining its support for the president's government, the RPR criticized the executive duo composed of President Giscard d'Estaing and Prime Minister Raymond Barre.
Its first master stroke was in March 1977 the election of Chirac as Mayor of Paris against Michel d'Ornano, a close friend of President Giscard d'Estaing. It was faced with the creation of the Union for French Democracy, a confederation of the parties supporting the presidential policies and which competed for the leadership over the right; the stake of the 1978 legislative election was not only the victory of the right over the left, but the domination of the RPR over the UDF in the parliamentary majority. Given the increasing unpopularity of the executive duo, with a view to the next presidential election, the RPR became critical. In December 1978, six months before the European Parliament election, the Call of Cochin signed by Chirac denounced the appropriation of France by "the foreign party," which sacrificed the national interests and the independence of the country in order to build a federal Europe; this accusation targeted Giscard d'Estaing. RPR leaders contrasted this as coming from the social doctrine of Gaullism as opposed to a perceived liberalism on the part of the President.
As RPR candidate at the 1981 presidential election, Chirac formulated vigorous condemnations of President Giscard d'Estaing, who ran for a second term. Eliminated in the first round, Chirac refused to give an endorsement for the second round, though he did say that he would vote for Giscard d'Estaing. In fact, the RPR was expected to work for the defeat of the incumbent president. After 1981, the RPR opposed with energy the policy of the Socialist Party President François Mitterrand and the left-wing governments; the RPR denounced the plan of nationalizations as the setting up of a "collectivist society". Impressed by the electoral success of New Right conservatives led by Ronald Reagan in the United States of America and by Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom, it abandoned the Gaullist doctrine, claiming a less control of the state in economy. During its 1983 congress, it advocated a liberal economic programme and the pursuit of the European construction, accepting the supranationality.
This new political line contributed to the reconciliation between the RPR and the UDF. In this, they presented a common list at the 1984 European Parliament election and a platform to prepare the winning 1986 legislative election. However, a rivalry appeared between Jacques Chirac and Raymond Barre who competed for the right-wing leadership with a view to the next presidential election. Furthermore, if the right-wing coalition benefited from the failures of the Socialist power, it was confronted with the emergence of the National Front in the far right; the RPR was divided about the possibility of alliance with this party. In 1986, being the leader of the main party of the new parliamentary majority and accepting the principle of the "cohabitation" with President Mitterrand, Chirac became again Prime Minister, he led a liberal economic policy inspired by Anglo-Saxon examples, selling a lot of public companies, abolishing the wealth tax. His Interior Minister Charles Pasqua led a policy of restriction of immigration.
If Chirac acceded in the second round of the 1988 presidential election despite Raymond Barre's candidacy, he was defeated by Mitterrand. While the RPR returned in the opposition, the leadership of Chirac was challenged by younger politicians who wished to renew the right. Furthermore, the abandonment of the Gaullist doctrine was criticized by Charles Pasqua and Philippe Séguin, they tried to take him the RPR lead in 1990, in vain. However, the division re-appeared with the 1992 Maastricht referendum. Chirac voted "yes" whereas Séguin and Pasqua campaigned for "no"; the "Union for France", a RPR/UDF coalition, won the 1993 legislative election. Chirac refused to re-cohabitate with Mitterrand, Edouard Balladur became prime minister. Balladur promised. Polls indicated Balladur was the favorite in the presidential race and, furthermore, he was supported by the most part of the right-wing politicians, he decided to run against Chirac. However, they claimed; the Socialists being weakened after the 14 years of Mitterrand's presidency, the main competition was within the right, between Balladur and Chirac, two Neo-Gaullists.
Balladur proposed a liberal program and took advantage of the "positive results" of his cabinet, whereas Chirac advocated Keynesian economics to reduce the "social fracture" and criticized the "dominant id
Laurent Fabius is a French Socialist politician who served as Prime Minister of France from 17 July 1984 to 20 March 1986. Fabius was 37 years old when he was appointed and is, so far, the youngest prime minister of the Fifth Republic. Fabius was President of the National Assembly from 1988 to 1992, again from 1997 to 2000. Fabius served in the government as Minister of Finance from 2000 to 2002, Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2012 to 2016. Fabius was born in the wealthy 16th arrondissement of the son of Louise and André Fabius, he is the younger brother of François Fabius. His parents were from Ashkenazi Jewish families. Fabius was raised a Catholic, he has three sons, David with his partner Ch d'Izarny Gargas and Victor with his spouse Francoise Castro. Fabius's secondary education was at the Lycée Lycée Louis-le-Grand. Fabius was a graduate of institutions that are training grounds for academics, senior civil servants and executives. After his studies, Fabius became an auditor for the Council of State.
A member of the Socialist Party since 1974, Fabius was first elected to the National Assembly in 1978 for the fourth constituency of Seine-Maritime. Fabius gained entry to the circle of François Mitterrand, the leader of the party; when Mitterrand was elected as President of France in 1981, Fabius was nominated as Minister of the Budget. Two years Fabius became Minister of Industry, pursued the policy of "industrial restructuring". In 1984, a government shake up by Mitterrand led Fabius to be appointed as Prime Minister at the age of 37. Fabius advocated a new kind of French socialism. In social policy, a law of December 1984 replaced allowance for orphans with a family support allowance, empowered family allowance funds to aid in recovery of child support when a parent fails to pay; the allowable income for recipients of the young child allowance was increased for families with three or more children. The Fabius Government sought to reduce penalties on families with working mothers by increasing the income ceiling for dual-income families receiving the young child allowance.
A parental education fund was created, which provided for payments to each person who stops work or reduces hours of work as a result of the birth of any child beyond the first two, for which the parent is/are responsible. In 1985, as a means of upholding the rights of homosexuals, the penal code was amended to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of "moral habits" which included sexual orientation. A decree of 17 July 1984 set up an Immigrants' Council, which could be consulted on questions of concern to the immigrant population regarding living conditions, work, employment and training, as well as social and cultural activities. In November 1984, an allowance was introduced if the parent concerned had been employed for two or more years. Known as the "allocation parentale d’education," this allowance provided 1,000 francs per month for parents who decided to take two years of parental leave after the birth of their first child; the "allocation au jeune enfant," introduced in January 1985, was paid to all families at a flat rate for each child from the third month of pregnancy for nine months, regardless of the parents’ income.
Payment was to continue after this period for 8 out of 10 families for a further 32 months on a means-tested basis. In effect, this created a benefit for the first child in lower income families; the government, reduced the daily maternity allowance from 90% to 84% of the basic wage, while the reimbursement rate of so-called "comfort" medicinal products was lowered. In June 1985, a law was passed allowing first offenders who had committed petty crimes to serve sentences of six months or less in public-service jobs. A July 1985 law tripled the amount of aid for victims of crimes. Legislation was introduced that year to restrict the use of preventive detention, ensure that the rights of suspects were better protected. A decree of September 1984 reconstituted the Supreme Council for the Prevention of Occupational Risks, a consultative body representing both sides of industry, to make its function more flexibly, was extended to include crafts. A law of January 1985 extended the scope for associations whose formal objectives include combating racism to institute a civil action where an offence has been committed against an individual by reason of his national or ethnic origin, race or religion.
A special 1985 holiday programme was introduced, directed at young people outside the traditional circuits of organised leisure activities. Provisions were adopted that same year according new rights to families and users of child social assistance as regards information and the association of families and children in decision-making; the right to maternity leave was extended to the father, in the event of the death of the mother in child-birth. The father was entitled to post-natal leave and could claim an allowance under the maternity insurance scheme. In the field of education, much time and effort was spent on improving the system and educational outcomes. Vast sums were provided to improve technical education in schools, with closer ties established between education and industry, a programme was launched to train 25,000 teachers per annum in the use of computers, 100,000 computers were purchased for students to use, 1
Elections to the European Parliament
Elections to the European Parliament take place every five years by universal adult suffrage. 751 MEPs are elected to the European Parliament, directly elected since 1979. No other EU institution is directly elected, with the Council of the European Union and the European Council being only indirectly legitimated through national elections. While Europarties have the right to campaign EU-wide for the European elections, campaigns still take place through national election campaigns, advertising national delegates from national parties; the allocation of seats to each member state is based on the principle of degressive proportionality, so that, while the size of the population of each country is taken into account, smaller states elect more MEPs than is proportional to their populations. As the numbers of MEPs to be elected by each country have arisen from treaty negotiations, there is no precise formula for the apportionment of seats among member states. No change in this configuration can occur without the unanimous consent of all governments.
There is no uniform voting system for the election of MEPs. The electoral area may be subdivided if this will not affect the proportional nature of the electoral system. Most of the member states of the European Union elect their MEPs with a single constituency covering the entire state, using party-list proportional representation. There is however a great variety of electoral procedures: some countries use the highest averages method of proportional representation, some use the largest remainder method, some open lists and others closed. In addition, the method of calculating the quota and the election threshold vary from country to country. Countries with multiple constituencies are: Belgium is split into 3 constituencies: the Dutch-speaking electoral college, the French-speaking electoral college, the German-speaking electoral college; the first two of these elect their MEPs using party list PR, but the German-speaking constituency only has 1 member, therefore not elected by a proportional method.
Republic of Ireland uses the Single transferable vote. In Malta, MEPs are elected by single transferable vote from a single national constituency; the United Kingdom is split into constituencies representing Scotland, Northern Ireland and each of the regions of England. Northern Ireland uses the single transferable vote. Germany and Poland use a different system, whereby parties are awarded seats based on their nationwide vote as in all of the states that elect members from a single constituency. With the number of seats for each party known, these are given to the candidates on the regional lists based on the number of votes from each region towards the party's nationwide total, awarded proportionally to the regions; these subdivisions are not constituencies, as they do not decide how many seats each party is awarded, but are districts that the members represent once elected. The number of members for each region is decided dynamically after the election, depends on voter turnout in each region.
A region with high turnout will result in more votes for the parties there, which will result in a greater number of MEPs elected for that region. The European Union has a multi-party system involving a number of ideologically diverse Europarties; as no one Europarty has gained power alone, their affiliated parliamentary groups must work with each other to pass legislation. Since no pan-European government is formed as a result of the European elections, long-term coalitions have never occurred. Europarties have the exclusive right to campaign for the European elections. Campaign activities differ per country since national elections for European Parliament representatives are governed by national laws. For instance, a European party can buy unlimited advertising airtime in Estonia while it is barred from any form of paid advertising in Sweden. For the 2014 EP election, Europarties decided to put forward a candidate for President of the European Commission. While no legal obligation exists to force the European Council to propose the candidate of the strongest party to the EP, it is assumed that the Council will have no other choice than to accept the voters' decision.
The two major parties are the centre-right European People's Party and the centre-left Party of European Socialists. They form the two largest groups, along with other smaller parties. There are numerous other groups, including communists, regionalists, conservatives and eurosceptics. Together they form the seven recognised groups in the parliament. MEPs that are not members of groups are known as non-inscrits. A 1980 analysis by Karlheinz Reif and Hermann Schmitt concluded that European elections were fought on national issues and used by voters to punish their governments mid-term, making European Parliament elections de facto national elections of second rank; this phenomenon is referred to by some experts as the "punishment traps," wherein voters use the European Parliament elections and other European integration referendums as punishment for governments on account of bad economic performance. There is a study that showed how voters tend to choose candidates of a party at the European level if it has a history of advancing s
François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand was a French statesman who served as President of France from 1981 to 1995, the longest time in office in French history. As First Secretary of the Socialist Party, he was the first left-wing politician to be elected President of France under the Fifth Republic. Reflecting family influences, Mitterrand started political life on the Catholic nationalist right, he served under the Vichy Regime during its earlier years. Subsequently he joined the Resistance, moved to the left, held ministerial office several times under the Fourth Republic, he opposed de Gaulle's establishment of the Fifth Republic. Although at times a politically isolated figure, Mitterrand outmanoeuvered rivals to become the left's standard bearer at every presidential election from 1965–88. Mitterrand was elected President at the 1981 presidential election, he was re-elected in 1988 and remained in office until 1995. Mitterrand invited the Communist Party into his first government, a controversial decision at the time.
In the event, the Communists were boxed in as junior partners and, rather than taking advantage, saw their support erode. They left the cabinet in 1984. Early in his first term, Mitterrand followed a radical left-wing economic agenda, including nationalisation of key firms, but after two years, with the economy in crisis, he reversed course, he pushed a liberal agenda with reforms such as the abolition of the death penalty, the 39-hour work week, the end of a government monopoly in radio and television broadcasting. His foreign and defense policies built on those of his Gaullist predecessors, his partnership with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl advanced European integration via the Maastricht Treaty, but he reluctantly accepted German reunification. During his time in office, he was a strong promoter of culture and implemented a range of costly "Grands Projets", he is the only French President to have named a female Prime Minister, Édith Cresson, in 1991. He was twice forced by the loss of a parliamentary majority into "cohabitation governments" with conservative cabinets led by Jacques Chirac, Édouard Balladur.
Less than eight months after leaving office, Mitterrand died from the prostate cancer he had concealed for most of his presidency. Beyond making the French left electable, Mitterrand presided over the rise of the Socialist Party to dominance of the left, the decline of the once-mighty Communist Party, he is known for his Mitterrand doctrine, a policy of not extraditing convicted far-left terrorists of the years of lead such as Cesare Battisti to Italy, due to the alleged non-conformity of Italian legislation to European standards of rule of law, in particular the anti-terrorism laws passed by Italy in the 1970s and 1980s. When the European Court of Human Rights ruled against the Mitterrand doctrine, the policy had led to most of the criminals never being punished for their crimes. Mitterrand was born in Jarnac and baptized François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand, the son of Joseph Mitterrand and Yvonne Lorrain, his family was devoutly Roman conservative. His father worked as an engineer for the Compagnie Paris Orléans railway.
He had three brothers, Robert and Philippe, four sisters, Marie-Josèphe and Geneviève. Mitterrand's wife, Danielle Mitterrand, came from a socialist background and worked for various left-wing causes, they married on 24 October 1944 and had three sons: Pascal, Jean-Christophe, born in 1946, Gilbert, born on 4 February 1949. He had two children as results of extra-marital affairs: an acknowledged daughter, with his mistress Anne Pingeot, an unacknowledged son, Hravn Forsne, with Swedish journalist Christina Forsne. Mitterrand's nephew Frédéric Mitterrand is a journalist, Minister of Culture and Communications under Nicolas Sarkozy, his wife's brother-in-law Roger Hanin was a well-known French actor. Mitterrand studied from 1925 to 1934 in the Collège Saint-Paul in Angoulême, where he became a member of the Jeunesse Etudiante Chrétienne, the student organisation of Action catholique. Arriving in Paris in autumn 1934, he went to the École Libre des Sciences Politiques until 1937, where he obtained his diploma in July of that year.
Mitterrand took membership for about a year in the Volontaires nationaux, an organisation related to François de la Rocque's far-right league, the Croix de Feu. Contrary to some reports, Mitterrand never became a formal member of the Parti Social Français, the successor to the Croix de Feu and may be considered the first French right-wing mass party. However, he did write news articles in the L'Echo de Paris newspaper, close to the PSF, he participated in the demonstrations against the "métèque invasion" in February 1935 and in those against law teacher Gaston Jèze, nominated as juridical counsellor of Ethiopia's Negus, in January 1936. When Mitterrand's involvement in these conservative nationalist movements was revealed in the 1990s, he attributed his actions to the milieu of his youth. Mitterrand furthermore had some personal and family relations with members of the Cagoule, a far-right terrorist group in the 1930s. Mitterrand serv