Lionel Jospin (French pronunciation: ; born 12 July 1937) is a French politician who served as Prime Minister of France from 1997 to 2002.
Jospin was the Socialist Party candidate for President of France in the elections of 1995 and 2002. He was narrowly defeated in the final runoff election by Jacques Chirac in 1995. He ran for President again in 2002, and was stunningly eliminated in the first round due to finishing behind both Chirac and the far-right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen, following which he immediately announced his retirement from politics.
Lionel Jospin was born to a Protestant family in Meudon (Hauts-de-Seine), a suburb of Paris. He studied at Institut d'études politiques de Paris and the École nationale d'administration (ENA). He was active in the UNEF students' union, protesting against the war in Algeria (1954–62). He completed his military service as an officer in charge of armoured training in Trier (Germany).