François Gérard Georges Nicolas Hollande (French pronunciation: [fʁɑ̃swa ɔlɑ̃d]; born 12 August 1954) is the 24th and current President of Franceand Co-Prince of Andorra. He was previously the First Secretary of the French Socialist Party from 1997 to 2008, and the Deputy of the National Assembly of France for Corrèze’s 1st Constituency from 1988 to 1993 and then again from 1997 to 2012. He also served as the Mayor of Tulle from 2001 to 2008 and the President of the General Council of Corrèze from 2008 to 2012. He was elected President of France on 6 May 2012, defeating the incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy, and was sworn in on 15 May. He is the second Socialist Party President of the Fifth French Republic, afterFrançois Mitterrand.
Early life and education
François Hollande was born in Rouen to an upper-middle-class family. His mother, Nicole Frédérique Marguerite Tribert (1927–2009), was a social worker, and his father, Georges Gustave Hollande, an ear, nose, and throat doctor who “had once run for the far right in local politics.” The surname “Hollande” is “believed to come from Calvinist ancestors who escaped the Netherlands in the 16th century and took the name of their old country.”[dubious ] Hollande was raised Catholic but is now an agnostic. (In December 2011, Hollande told the French Christian magazine La Vie that he respects all religious practices but has none of his own.) The family moved to Neuilly-sur-Seine, a highly exclusive suburb of Paris, when Hollande was 13.
He attended Saint-Jean-Baptiste-de-la-Salle boarding school, a private Catholic school in Rouen, then HEC Paris, the Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Paris Institute of Political Studies), and the École nationale d’administration. He graduated from ENA in 1980 and chose to enter the prestigious Cour des comptes. He lived in the United States in the summer of 1974 while he was a university student. Immediately after graduating, he was employed as a councillor in the Court of Audit.
Early political career
After volunteering as a student to work for François Mitterrand‘s ultimately unsuccessful campaign in the 1974 presidential election, Hollande joined the Socialist Party five years later. He was quickly spotted by Jacques Attali, a senior adviser to Mitterrand, who arranged for Hollande to stand for election to the French National Assembly in 1981 in Corrèze against future President Jacques Chirac, who was then the Leader of the Rally for the Republic, a Neo-Gaullist party. Hollande lost to Chirac in the first round.
He would go on to become a Special Adviser to the newly elected President Mitterrand, before serving as a staffer for Max Gallo, the government’s spokesman. After becoming a Municipal Councillor for Ussel in 1983, he contested Corrèze for a second time in 1988, this time being elected to the National Assembly. Hollande lost his bid for re-election to the National Assembly in the so-called “blue wave” of the 1993 election, described as such due to the number of seats gained by the Right at the expense of the Socialist Party.
First Secretary of the Socialist Party
As the end of Mitterrand’s term in office approached, the Socialist Party was torn by a struggle of internal factions, each seeking to influence the direction of the party. Hollande pleaded for reconciliation and for the party to unite behind Jacques Delors, the President of the European Commission, but Delors renounced his ambitions to run for the French Presidency in 1995, leading to Lionel Jospin‘s resuming his earlier position as the leader of the party. Jospin selected Hollande to become the official party spokesman, and Hollande went on to contest Corrèze once again in 1997, successfully returning to the National Assembly.
That same year, Jospin became the Prime Minister of France, and Hollande won the election for his successor as First Secretary of the French Socialist Party, a position he would hold for eleven years. Because of the very strong position of the Socialist Party within the French Governmentduring this period, Hollande’s position led some to refer to him the “Vice Prime Minister”. Hollande would go on to be elected the Mayor of Tulle in 2001, an office he would hold for the next seven years.
The immediate resignation of Jospin from politics following his shock defeat by far-right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen in the first round of the 2002 presidential election forced Hollande to become the public face of the party for the 2002 legislative election but, although he managed to limit defeats and was re-elected in his own constituency, the Socialists lost nationally. In order to prepare for the 2003 Party Congress in Dijon, he obtained the support of many notable personalities of the party and was re-elected First Secretary against opposition from left-wing factions.
After the triumph of the Left in the 2004 regional elections, Hollande was cited as a potential presidential candidate, but the Socialists were divided on the European Constitution, and Hollande’s support for the ill-fated “yes” position in the French referendum on the European Constitution caused friction within the party. Although Hollande was re-elected as First Secretary at the Le Mans Congress in 2005, his authority over the party began to decline from this point onwards. Eventually his domestic partner, Ségolène Royal, was chosen to represent the Socialist Party in the 2007 presidential election, where she would lose to Nicolas Sarkozy.
Hollande was widely blamed for the poor performances of the Socialist Party in the 2007 elections, and he announced that he would not seek another term as First Secretary. Hollande publicly declared his support for Bertrand Delanoë, the Mayor of Paris, although it was Martine Aubry who would go on to win the race to succeed him in 2008.
Following his resignation as First Secretary, Hollande was immediately elected to replace Jean-Pierre Dupont as the President of the General Councilof Corrèze in April 2008, a position he holds to this day. In 2008 he supported the creation of the first European Prize for Local History (Étienne Baluze Prize), founded by the “Société des Amis du musée du cloître” of Tulle, on the suggestion of the French historian Jean Boutier. François Hollande awarded the first prize on 29 February 2008 to the Italian historian Beatrice Palmero in the General Council of Corrèze.
For over 30 years, his partner was fellow Socialist politician Ségolène Royal, with whom he has four children: Thomas (1984), Clémence (1985), Julien (1987), and Flora (1992). In June 2007, just a month after Royal’s defeat in the French presidential election of 2007, the couple announced that they were separating.
A few months after his split from Ségolène Royal was announced, a French website published details of a relationship between Hollande and French journalist Valérie Trierweiler. This disclosure was controversial, as some considered it to be a breach of France’s strict stance on the privacy of politicians’ personal affairs. In November 2007, Valérie Trierweiler confirmed and openly discussed her relationship with Hollande in an interview with the French weeklyTélé 7 Jours. She remains an employee of the magazine Paris Match.