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    Michel Rocard (23 August 1930 – 2 July 2016) was a French politician and a member of the Socialist Party (PS). He served as Prime Minister under François Mitterrand from 1988 to 1991 during which he created the Revenu minimum d'insertion (RMI), a social minimum welfare program for indigents, and achieved the Matignon Accords regarding the status of New Caledonia. He was a member of the European Parliament, and was strongly involved in European policies until 2009. In 2007, he joined a Commission under the authority of Nicolas Sarkozy's Minister of Education, Xavier Darcos.

    Rocard was born in Courbevoie, Hauts-de-Seine, to a Protestant family. The son of nuclear physicist Yves Rocard, he entered politics as a student leader while he was studying at Sciences Po. He became chair of the French Socialist Students affiliated to the main French Socialist party at the time, the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO), and studied at the École nationale d'administration (ENA), after which he chose to enter the prestigious Inspection des finances. As an anti-colonialist, he went to Algeria and wrote a report regarding the widely-ignored refugee camps of the Algerian War (1954–1962). The report was leaked to the newspapers Le Monde and France Observateur in April 1959, which almost cost Rocard his position. Michel Rocard was a certified glider pilot.

    Having left the SFIO because of Guy Mollet's position towards the Algerian War, Rocard led the dissident Unified Socialist Party (PSU) from 1967 to 1974. He was a prominent figure during the May 1968 crisis, supporting the auto-gestionary project. He ran in the 1969 presidential election but obtained only 3.6% of the vote. Some months later, he was elected deputy for the Yvelines département, defeating the former Prime minister Maurice Couve de Murville. He lost his parliamentary seat in 1973, but retook it in 1978.

    In 1973–74, he participated in the LIP conflict, selling watches with the workers and participating, behind the scenes, in the attempts to find an employer who would take back the factory, which was on the verge of being liquidated.

    In 1974, he joined François Mitterrand and the renewed Socialist Party (PS), which had replaced the old SFIO. Most of the PSU members and a part of the French and Democratic Confederation of Labour (CFDT) trade union – the non-Marxist section of the left that Rocard famously defined as the "Second Left" – followed him.

    Elected mayor of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine in 1977, he led the opposition to Mitterrand inside the Socialist Party (as a candidate of the right wing of the party). After the defeat of the left at the 1978 legislative election, he tried to take over the leadership of the party. In spite of his alliance with Pierre Mauroy, the number 2 of the PS, he lost at the Metz Congress (1979). As the Socialist Party's most popular politician at the time (including Mitterrand himself), he announced that he would run for president; but his "Call of Conflans" did not result in majority support within the PS, and he withdrew his candidacy. Mitterrand was the successful Socialist candidate in the 1981 presidential election. ...

    Source: Article "Michel Rocard" from Wikipedia in English, licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0.