Lionel Jospin was educated at the École nationale d'admistration.
Despite his previous image of rigid socialist, he went on selling state participations, lowered the VAT rate, income tax, company tax, and reduced the public debt before the introduction of the euro.
His government also introduced the 35-hour week, provided additional health insurance for the poorest, promoted the representation of women in politics, and created the PACS (a union between two people, whether of opposite genders or not).
During his term, with the help of a favorable economic situation, unemployment fell by 900,000.
However, the presidential campaign of 2002 focused mainly on safety issues, in which the government had admittedly not achieved convincing results. The prime minister was also strongly criticized by the far left for his economic policy. As a result, Jospin was heavily defeated, in the first round of the election.
Following his defeat in April 2002, he decided to leave politics.