François Mitterrand 

François Mitterrand
Source: Fotocollectie Anefo Reportage, 1988

François Mitterrand was born on October 26th 1916, in France. He was a French politician who served the country, as a President, for two terms. Mitterrand studied Law and Political Science, in Paris, and in 1946 he was elected into the National Assembly. The following year he became Minister of Cabinet in the coalition government of Paul Ramadier. In the following years, Mitterrand held various positions in various governments of the Fourth French Republic. Since 1958, François Mitterrand became an opposition to Charles de Gaulle, who became President in the following year.

In 1965, Mitterrand ran against De Gaulle as a candidate for the French Presidency and took the election to a second round. In 1971, he was elected as the first secretary of the Socialist Party and started the party reorganization. In 1974, Mitterrand ran for the Presidency once more and was defeated again. He acceded to the Presidency only in 1981, after the defeat of President Giscard d’Estaing. He was the first Socialist President of the Fifth Republic. During Mitterrand’s term of foreign policy, France developed its relationship with the United States, maintaining a tougher stance towards the Soviet Union. In 1986, Mitterrand had Jacques Chirac as the Prime Minister, in a power-sharing agreement called “Cohabitation”, however, Mitterrand maintained the country’s foreign policy.

Two years later, in 1988, Mitterrand ran again for the Presidency and at the same time he started the promotion of European unity. He is one of the main defenders of the 1991 European Union Treaty, which sought a European banking system, a common currency and a unified foreign policy. His second term ended in May, 1995, with the election of Jacques Chirac. François Mitterrand died of prostate cancer, at the age of 79, less than a year after he ended his second presidential term.


Cole, A. (2018). François Mitterrand: A study in political leadership. London: Routledge.

Tiersky, R. (2003). François Mitterrand: A Very French President. Rowman & Littlefield.

Short, P. (2014). A Taste for Intrigue: The Multiple Lives of François Mitterrand. New York: Henry Holt and Company.