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Born Dec. 31, 1905, in Flers, Orne Department; died Oct. 3, 1975, in Paris. French political and governmental figure.
A teacher by profession, Mollet became an official of the French Socialist Party (SFIO) in 1923. During World War II he took part in the Resistance Movement; in 1944 he became secretary of the Liberation Committee of the department of Pas-de-Calais. In 1945 he was elected mayor of the city of Arras.
In 1945–46, Mollet was a deputy to the Constituent Assembly and after 1946 was a deputy to the National Assembly. He served as secretary-general of the SFIO from 1946 to 1969 and as vice-president of the Socialist International from 1951 to 1969. He was a minister of state during 1946–47 and again in 1950–51; in 1951 he became a vice-premier. From 1954 to 1956 he was chairman of the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe.
In 1956, Mollet became head of the French government that was formed after the victory of left-wing forces in the elections. His government carried out a number of social reforms, and in 1956 he visited the USSR as head of a governmental delegation. But the participation of the Mollet government in Anglo-French-Israeli aggression against Egypt during 1956, along with continuation of the colonial war in Algeria (1954-62), led to a split among democratic forces and brought about Mollet’s resignation in 1957.
In May 1958, as vice-premier, he aided the coming to power of C. De Gaulle, in whose government he served as a state minister during 1958–59. Mollet then joined the opposition to the Fifth Republic. In 1963 he visited the USSR as head of a delegation of the SFIO. Mollet was active in the creation of the Federation of the Left in 1965. In 1969 he became chairman of the University Center for the Study of Socialism.