Topic: Francois Mitterand

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François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand ( fʁɑ̃swa mɔʁis mitɛˈʁɑ̃ (help·info), 26 October 1916 – 8 January 1996) served as President of France from 1981 to 1995, elected as representative of the Socialist Party (PS). First elected during the May 1981 presidential election, he became the first socialist president of the Fifth Republic and the first left-wing head of state since 1957. He is to date the only member of the Socialist Party to be elected President of France. He was re-elected in 1988 and held office until 1995, before his death from prostate cancer the following year. At the beginning of each of his two terms, he dissolved the Parliament and held a fresh legislative election in the hope that the Socialist Party would win and he would have a parliamentary majority. This did indeed happen as he hoped; however, each time his party lost the next legislative elections. He was consequently forced to "cohabit" during the two last years of each of his terms with conservative cabinets. They were led by Jacques Chirac from 1986 until 1988, and Édouard Balladur from 1993 to 1995.

As of 2009 he holds the record of longest serving (almost 14 years) President of France. He was also the oldest President of the Fifth Republic, leaving office aged 78 years and six months. He died on 8 January 1996, shortly after returning from a Christmas holiday in Egypt.

Mitterrand was born in Jarnac, Charente, and baptised François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand. His family was devoutly Roman Catholic and very conservative. His father, Joseph Gilbert Félix, worked as an engineer for la Compagnie Paris Orléans, his stepfather worked as a vinegar maker and later served as president of the federation of vinegar makers union (Fédération des syndicats de fabricants de vinaigre). Joseph's maternal grandmother was a noblewoman, a descendant of both Fernando III of Castile and Jean de Brienne of Jerusalem. Mitterrand's mother was Marie Gabrielle Yvonne Lorrain, a remote niece of Pope John XXII. He had three brothers (Robert, Jacques and Philippe) and four sisters. His wife, Danielle Mitterrand née Gouze, came from a socialist background and has worked for various left-wing causes. They married on 24 October 1944 and had three sons: Pascal (10 June 1945 – 17 September 1945), Jean-Christophe, born in 1946, and Gilbert Mitterrand, born on 4 February 1949. He also had a daughter Mazarine with Anne Pingeot (?). His nephew Frédéric Mitterrand is a journalist, currently Minister of Culture (and supporter of Jacques Chirac, former president of France), and his brother-in-law Roger Hanin is a well-known actor.

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It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Francois Mitterand."