Michel Rocard (born in 1930) is a former radical, he joined the Socialist Party (PS) in 1973, emerging as leader of its moderate social-democratic wing.
He held ministerial office under Mitterrand 1981-1985, and was appointed prime minister 1988.
Rocard trained at the prestigious Ecole National d'Ad-ministration, where he was a classmate of Jacques Chirac. He became leader of the radical Unified Socialist Party (PSU) in 1967, standing as its presidential candidate in 1969.
Having gone over to the PS, he challenged Francois Mitterand for the party's presidential nomination in 1981. After serving as minister of planning and regional development 1981-1983 and of agriculture 1983-1985 in the ensuing Mitterrand administration, he resigned in April 1985 in opposition to the government's introduction of proportional representation.
In May 1988, however, as part of a strategy termed 'opening to the centre', the popular Rocard was appointed prime minister by Mitterrand.