The April 21st defeat of Socialist party candidate Lionel Jospin in the first
round of the 2002 presidential elections shockingly ended the five-year reign
of arguably the most productive government in Fifth Republic France.1 The
Jospin government of the Gauche Plurielle departed as surprisingly as it had
come to power five years earlier, its legacy of unprecedented success in Left
coalition building and far-ranging policy construction seemingly voided by
Jospin’s embarrassing loss to Jean-Marie Le Pen and the Far Right.