Jospin, Lionel

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Jospin, Lionel (1937– ) French statesman, prime minister (1997–2002). Jospin joined the French Socialist Party (PS) in 1971. In 1981 he became first secretary of the PS. In 1995 he succeeded François Mitterrand as leader of the PS, but lost the ensuing presidential election to Jacques Chirac. In the 1997 prime ministerial elections, Jospin won a surprise victory against the incumbent RPR prime minister, Alain Juppé. Jospin retired after losing a second presidential election in 2002.