Jacques Chirac
President of France
Jacques Chirac
Jacques René Chirac is a French politician who served as President of France from 1995 to 2007. He previously served as Prime Minister of France from 1974 to 1976 and from 1986 to 1988, and as Mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995.
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Mosul And Aleppo, America’s Miserable Election, And A Man Without Borders
Huffington Post - 4 months
The battle for Mosul is on. I have already reported, here and elsewhere, my understanding of what is at stake. Two comments, however. First, the battle was late in coming. Far too late. On this subject the Kurdish commanders whose observations I gathered and presented more than a year ago in my documentary, Peshmerga, were voices crying out in the desert. The city can and should be taken, they insisted to anyone who would listen; every hour wasted, every day spent in procrastination only strengthens the Islamic State’s capacity for defense of the city and for attacks elsewhere. My second comment is that Mosul is not Aleppo, as Marine Le Pen’s National Front cynically maintains. Yes, like Aleppo, Mosul is a cosmopolitan commercial city with a rich multimillennial history. The two cities have that in common; both are parts of humanity’s incalculably precious cultural heritage. But the battle for Mosul in no way resembles the situation in Aleppo. At the moment, in fact, the strategic an ...
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Huffington Post article
Adelina von Fürstenberg and ART for the World Remember Stolen Lives and Legacies
Huffington Post - 5 months
Stories on Human Rights, trailer, 2008, created and produced by ART for The World. Made in observance of the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 22 three-minute films were made by some of the world's most prominent filmmakers, artists, and writers and compiled in one feature-length film with music by Michael Galasso. Read more about the film on the ART for the World website. For the past 20 years Adelina von Fürstenberg has been curating international exhibitions and screenings attended by the world leaders of democracy and totalitarian dictators alike. Associated with the United Nations Department of Information, ART for the World, a non-governmental organization (NGO) for the arts, was founded by Fürstenberg in 1995, when United Nations Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali came to the then-director of the Centre d'Art Contemporain de Genéve with the request for her to honor the founding of the United Nations with a fiftieth anniversary exhibition. ...
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Report: Former French President Jacques Chirac hospitalized
CNN - 5 months
Former French President Jacques Chirac has been admitted to a Paris hospital for a pulmonary infection, according to a report from Agence France-Presse.
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CNN article
France: The National Front's Defeat Was Predictable
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Charles de Gaulle saves France again: The National Front is boxed out by France's electoral system Charles de Gaulle from beyond the tomb is again saving France from the French, i.e. from the French people's penchant for periodic self-immolation. The first time, in 1940, he rejected the armistice with Nazi Germany, denounced the Vichy government and led the WWII Resistance to Hitler. The second time, in 1958, he was called back to power to short-circuit civil strife and extricate France from its doomed Algerian War. His price was agreement to create the Fifth Republic on the ashes of the Fourth. This time around, the electoral system he designed in the early years of the Republic boxed Marine Le Pen's National Front from winning even one of France's thirteen regional governments after its first-ballot surge made it "France's largest party". It's not. The FN is France's largest party only in the first round of two-round elections. Predictions of FN triumph were so wrong because of ...
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Huffington Post article
Former French President hospitalized in Paris
CNN - about 1 year
Former French President Jacques Chirac has been admitted to a hospital in Paris, CNN affiliate BFMTV reported Thursday.
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CNN article
What Marine Le Pen and Donald Trump Have in Common
Huffington Post - about 1 year
France's wrenching shift to the right in last Sunday's regional elections should serve as a warning to American liberals. Many of the same currents that led an unprecedented number of French voters to pull the lever for the right-wing National Front have also influenced the political fortunes of Donald Trump and could have a similar impact on the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. In the first round of the two-step elections for regional representatives last Sunday, French voters put Marine Le Pen's party in the lead in six of the country's 13 regions. The incumbent Socialist Party came in a poor third in several races, well behind Nicolas Sarkozy's center-right Les Republicains. The National Front, formerly led by Le Pen's father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, was once seen as a pariah because of his frequent racist and anti-Semitic statements. But the daughter has effectively smoothed the rough edges and thrust the party into the center of the political debate. "The National Front has complet ...
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An Open Letter To The Chinese Friends Who Lit Up The Shanghai Oriental Pearl Tower With The Colors Of The French Flag
Huffington Post - over 1 year
Dear Chinese Friends, The night following the Paris massacre, China has expressed her solidarity with the French people by displaying the colors of the French flag on the Shanghai Oriental Pearl Tower. When the French President François Hollande spoke at the UNESCO four days after the tragedy, he mentioned with gratitude the expressions of friendship which came from all over the world at a difficult moment for the French nation, from the Sydney Opera, the Brandenburg Gate, the Pyramids of Egypt, the New York Metropolitan Opera and the Shanghai Oriental Pearl Tower. The killers who executed 129 human beings on November 13 in the French capital might have hoped to divide the French nation, they have only hardened her resolve to fight terrorism, they were expecting the fractures of the international community to widen, they have generated a truly universal condemnation of their barbarity. But with the French President's declaration of war against what he called an "army of terror ...
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Huffington Post article
The Paris Attacks and the Grief Shaming That Followed
Huffington Post - over 1 year
Are you reading the onslaught of criticism over changing your profile to the color of the French flag? My Facebook feed includes these comments: "If you didn't change it for the Beirut attacks or the refugee crisis, why now?" And, "You shouldn't pray for Paris because it's a practice grounded in religion." An article quickly circulating among my liberal friends suggest solidarity with Paris is embarrassingly misguided. Our empathy and our grief is individual. There is no wrong way to love, or to grieve, or to pray. But to hold collective grief, we need to be free of judgment and fear. The belief that changing your profile picture is embarrassingly narrow-minded assumes we don't grieve for other victims of terrorism. We do. But individually, we respond to world events with different timing and with different levels of empathy based on our familiarity, our history and our knowledge of the people or places involved. One of the most memorable images after the horror of 9/11 ...
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After six-year revamp, Paris Museum of Mankind re-opens its doors
Yahoo News - over 1 year
The Museum of Mankind in Paris re-opens its doors this week after six years of renovations that have breathed new life into France's leading anthropological museum. President Francois Hollande inaugurated the Musee de l'Homme on Thursday after the institution, which opened in 1937 on a hill across the Seine river from the Eiffel Tower, completed a facelift costing more than 90 million euros ($103 million). The museum shut for renovation in 2009 as visitors numbers dwindled following former President Jacques Chirac's decision a few years earlier to move its ethnographic collections to the then-new Quai Branly museum.
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A Field Guide To Europe's Radical Right Political Parties
Huffington Post - about 2 years
From Greece and France to Sweden and Denmark, Europe's far-right parties have taken the spotlight in recent months. Trading on sometimes vitriolic anti-euro, anti-immigrant sentiment, as well as renewed security fears, parties of the far-right have taken the center stage in protests and elections. These parties have not emerged overnight. In fact, many have lingered on the fringe of Europe's political landscape for decades. The WorldPost presents a guide to some of the most prominent radical right parties active in Europe today. National Front Marine Le Pen delivers a speech during a press conference on Jan. 16, 2015. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images) Country: France Leader: Marine Le Pen History: Founded in 1972 by Jean-Marie Le Pen, the current leader's father, the National Front has had a longstanding role representing the far-right of French politics. Since the mid-1980s, FN has received anywhere between 10 to 16 percent of the vote in French presidential elect ...
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Huffington Post article
Auschwitz...& ..Jews in France
CNN - about 2 years
Today, in a speech by President Francois Hollande at the Jewish Holocaust Museum in Paris commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of prisoners in Auschwitz during WWII. ............................................;"France is HOME to its Jewish people."        Considering the rise of events considered as anti-semitic (against both Muslims and Jews across France) and since the attack on Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket in which 4 Jewish men were targetted as being Jewish, his comments are welcomed by the 500,000 Jews living in France. A historic speech in that for the first time a French President acknowledged the French nation was complicit/responsible for the 76,000 Jews arrested deported and finally killed in the German Auschwitz/Birkenau concentration camps in Poland during World War Two.   In 1995 then French President Jacques Chirac stated that ceratin segments of the French population, (referring to those who collaborated with the Vichy government) we ...
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CNN article
François Hollande expected to get 'super red-carpet' treatment in US
Guardian (UK) - about 3 years
French president will be honoured with black-tie White House dinner and trip in Air Force One The United States is expected to roll out the red carpet for François Hollande on Monday as the president becomes the first French leader to make a state visit for nearly two decades. The three-day visit, which includes a black-tie dinner at the White House and a trip in the presidential plane Air Force One, is seen as evidence of the close ties between the US and France. As well as talks with Barack Obama, who has hosted only six state dinners since he took office in 2009, Hollande will visit Silicon Valley and have lunch with the heads of key new technology and social networking companies. He will also tour the francophile president Thomas Jefferson's house in Charlottesville, Virginia. However, unusually, he will not address Congress. Both the White House and the Elysée insist this is due to a lack of time. In San Francisco, Hollande will meet Eric Schmidt, the head of Google, and ...
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Guardian (UK) article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Jacques Chirac
  • 2016
    According to his son-in-law Frederic Salat-Baroux, Chirac was again hospitalized in Paris with a lung infection on 18 September 2016.
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  • 2015
    On 10 December 2015, Chirac was hospitalized in Paris for undisclosed reasons, although his state of health does not "give any cause for concern", he will remain under ICU.
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  • 2014
    In February 2014 he was admitted to hospital because of pains related to gout.
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  • 2011
    On 15 December 2011, Chirac was found guilty and given a suspended sentence of two years.
    More Details Hide Details He was convicted of diverting public funds, abuse of trust and illegal conflict of interest. The suspended sentence meant he did not have to go to prison, and took into account his age, health, and status as a former head of state. He did not attend his trial, since medical doctors deemed that his neurological problems damaged his memory. His defence team decided not to appeal.
    On 15 December 2011, the Paris court declared him guilty of diverting public funds and abusing public confidence, and gave Chirac a two-year suspended prison sentence.
    More Details Hide Details Chirac, born in the Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire clinic (Paris Ve), is the son of Abel François Marie Chirac (1898–1968), a successful executive for an aircraft company, and Marie-Louise Valette (1902–1973), a housewife. His great grandparents on both sides were peasants, but his two grandfathers were teachers from Sainte-Féréole in Corrèze. According to Chirac, his name "originates from the langue d'oc, that of the troubadours, therefore that of poetry". He is a Roman Catholic. Chirac was an only child (his elder sister, Jacqueline, died in infancy before his birth). He was educated in Paris at the Cours Hattemer, a private school. He then attended the Lycée Carnot and at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand. After his baccalauréat, he served for three months as a sailor on a coal-transporter. Chirac played rugby union for Brive's youth team, and also played at university level. He played no. 8 and second row.
    In Volume 2 of his memoirs published in June 2011, Chirac mocked his successor Nicolas Sarkozy as "irritable, rash, impetuous, disloyal, ungrateful, and un-French".
    More Details Hide Details Chirac wrote he considered firing Sarkozy before, and conceded responsibility in allowing Jean-Marie Le Pen to advance in 2002. A poll conducted in 2010 suggested he was the most admired political figure in France, while Sarkozy was 32nd.
    On 7 March 2011, he went on trial on charges of diverting public funds, accused of giving fictional city jobs to twenty-eight activists of his political party while serving as the mayor of Paris (1977–95). Along with Chirac, nine others stood trial in two separate cases, one dealing with fictional jobs for 21 people and the other with jobs for the remaining seven. The President of Union for a Popular Movement, who later served as France's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alain Juppé, was sentenced to a 14-month suspended prison sentence for the same case in 2004.
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  • 2010
    Marc Rioufol plays Chirac in Richard Loncraine's 2010 film The Special Relationship.
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  • 2009
    On 30 October 2009, a judge ordered Chirac to stand trial on embezzlement charges, dating back to his time as mayor of Paris.
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    In January 2009, it was reported that Chirac had been hospitalised after being attacked by his pet Maltese poodle.
    More Details Hide Details According to Chirac's wife Bernadette, the dog, named Sumo, had a history of unpredictable and vicious behaviour, and had previously been medicated with antidepressants in an attempt to control it.
  • 2008
    Shortly after leaving office, he launched the Fondation Chirac in June 2008.
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    On 11 April 2008, Chirac's office announced that he had undergone successful surgery to fit a pacemaker.
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  • 2007
    He sat for the first time in the Council on 15 November 2007, six months after leaving the French Presidency.
    More Details Hide Details Immediately after Sarkozy's victory, Chirac moved into a 180 square meters duplex on the Quai Voltaire in Paris lent to him by the family of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. During the Didier Schuller affair, the latter accused Hariri of having participated to the illegal funding of the RPR's political campaigns, but the justice closed the case without further investigations.
    Chirac's immunity from prosecution ended in May 2007, when he left office as president.
    More Details Hide Details In November 2007 a preliminary charge of misuse of public funds was filed against him. Chirac is said to be the first former French head of state to be formally placed under investigation for a crime.
    In a pre-recorded television broadcast aired on 11 March 2007, Jacques Chirac announced, in a widely predicted move, that he would not choose to seek a third term as France's president. "My whole life has been committed to serving France, and serving peace", Chirac said, adding that he would find new ways to serve France after leaving office.
    More Details Hide Details He did not explain the reasons for his decision. Chirac did not, during the broadcast, endorse any of the candidates running for election, but did devote several minutes of his talk to a plea against extremist politics that was considered a thinly disguised invocation to voters not to vote for Jean-Marie Le Pen and a recommendation to Nicolas Sarkozy not to orient his campaign so as to include themes traditionally associated with Le Pen.
    When Nicolas Sarkozy became President in 2007, Juppé was one of the few "chiraquiens" to serve in François Fillon's government.
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  • 2006
    On 10 May 2006, following a Cabinet meeting, Chirac made a rare television appearance to try to protect Villepin from the scandal and to debunk allegations that Chirac himself had set up a Japanese bank account containing 300 million francs in 1992 as Mayor of Paris.
    More Details Hide Details Chirac said that "The Republic is not a dictatorship of rumors, a dictatorship of calumny." In 1954 Chirac presented The Development of the Port of New-Orleans, a short geography/economic thesis to the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), which he had entered three years before. The 182-page typewritten work, directed by the professor Jean Chardonnet, is illustrated by photographs, schemes and diagrams.
    During April and May 2006, Chirac's administration was beset by a crisis as his chosen Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin, was accused of asking Philippe Rondot, a top level French spy, for a secret investigation into Villepin's chief political rival, Nicolas Sarkozy, in 2004.
    More Details Hide Details This matter has been called the second Clearstream Affair.
    On 19 January 2006, Chirac said that France was prepared to launch a nuclear strike against any country that sponsors a terrorist attack against French interests.
    More Details Hide Details He said his country's nuclear arsenal had been reconfigured to include the ability to make a tactical strike in retaliation for terrorism. In July 2006, the G8 met to discuss international energy concerns. Despite the rising awareness of global warming issues, the G8 focuses on "energy security" issues. Chirac continues to be the voice within the G8 summit meetings to support international action to curb global warming and climate change concerns. Chirac warns that "humanity is dancing on a volcano" and calls for serious action by the world's leading industrialised nations. Chirac requested the Landau-report (published in September 2004) and combined with the Report of the Technical Group on Innovative Financing Mechanisms formulated upon request by the Heads of State of Brazil, Chile, France and Spain (issued in December 2004), these documents present various opportunities for innovative financing mechanisms while equally stressing the advantages (stability and predictability) of tax-based models. UNITAID project was born. Today the organisation executive board is chaired by Philippe Douste-Blazy.
  • 2005
    Chirac is losing memory and suffers from a frail health. As President, he suffered a stroke in 2005.
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    In early September 2005, he suffered an event that his doctors described as a 'vascular incident'.
    More Details Hide Details It was reported as a 'minor stroke' or a mini-stroke (also known as a transient ischemic attack). He recovered and returned to his duties soon after.
    After Togo's leader Gnassingbé Eyadéma's death on 5 February 2005, Chirac gave him tribute and supported his son, Faure Gnassingbé, who has since succeeded to his father.
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  • 2004
    In October 2004, Chirac signed a trade agreement with PRC President Hu Jintao where Alstom was given €1 billion euro in contracts and promises of future investment in China.
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  • 2003
    Despite intense US pressure, Chirac threatened to veto, at that given point, a resolution in the UN Security Council that would authorise the use of military force to rid Iraq of alleged weapons of mass destruction, and rallied other governments to his position. "Iraq today does not represent an immediate threat that justifies an immediate war", Chirac said on 18 March 2003.
    More Details Hide Details Chirac was then the target of various American and British commentators supporting the decisions of Bush and Tony Blair. Future Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin acquired much of his popularity for his speech against the war at the United Nations (UN).
    Along with Vladimir Putin (Chirac called Vladimir Putin "a personal friend".), Hu Jintao, and Gerhard Schröder, Chirac emerged as a leading voice against George W. Bush in 2003 during the organization and deployment of the United States led military coalition to forcibly remove the then current government of Iraq controlled by the Ba'ath Party under the leadership of Saddam Hussein which resulted in the 2003–2011 Iraq War.
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  • 2002
    On 14 July 2002, during Bastille Day celebrations, Chirac survived an assassination attempt by a lone gunman with a rifle hidden in a guitar case.
    More Details Hide Details The would-be assassin fired a shot toward the presidential motorcade, before being overpowered by bystanders. The gunman, Maxime Brunerie, underwent psychiatric testing; the violent far-right group with which he was associated, Unité Radicale, was then administratively dissolved.
    He received 20% of the vote in the first ballot of the presidential elections in April 2002.
    More Details Hide Details It had been expected that he would face incumbent prime minister Lionel Jospin (PS) in the second round of elections; instead, Chirac faced controversial far right politician Jean-Marie Le Pen of National Front (FN) who came in 200,000 votes ahead of Jospin. All parties outside the National Front (except for Lutte ouvrière) called for opposing Le Pen, even if it meant voting for Chirac. The 14-day period between the two rounds of voting was marked by demonstrations against Le Pen and slogans such as "Vote for the crook, not for the fascist" or "Vote with a clothespin on your nose". Chirac won re-election by a landslide, with 82 percent of the vote on the second ballot. However, Chirac became increasingly unpopular during his second term. According to a July 2005 poll, 32 percent judged Chirac favourably and 63 percent unfavorably. In 2006, The Economist wrote that Chirac "is the most unpopular occupant of the Elysée Palace in the fifth republic's history."
    At the age of 69, Chirac faced his fourth presidential campaign in 2002.
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  • 2000
    Tiberi was finally expelled from the Rally for the Republic, Chirac's party, on 12 October 2000, declaring to the Figaro magazine on 18 November 2000: "Jacques Chirac is not my friend anymore".
    More Details Hide Details After the publication of the Jean-Claude Méry by Le Monde on 22 September 2000, in which Jean-Claude Méry, in charge of the RPR's financing, directly accused Chirac of organizing the network, and of having been physically present on 5 October 1986, when Méry gave in cash 5 million Francs, which came from companies who had benefited from state deals, to Michel Roussin, personal secretary (directeur de cabinet) of Chirac, Chirac refused to follow up his summons by judge Eric Halphen, and the highest echelons of the French justice declared that he could not been inculpated while in functions. During his two terms, he increased the Elysee Palace's total budget by 105 percent (to €90 million, whereas 20 years before it was the equivalent of €43.7 million). He doubled the number of presidential cars – to 61 cars and seven scooters in the Palace's garage. He has hired 145 extra employees – the total number of the people he employed simultaneously was 963.
    On July 25, 2000, as Chirac and the first lady were returning from the G7 Summit in Okinawa, Japan, they were nearly killed by Air France Flight 4590 after they landed at Charles de Gaulle International Airport.
    More Details Hide Details The first couple were in an Air France Boeing 747 taxiing toward the terminal when the jet had to stop and wait for Flight 4590 to take off. The departing plane, an Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde, ran over a strip of metal on takeoff that punctured its left fuel tank and sliced electrical wires near the left landing gear. The sequence of events ignited a massive fire and caused the Concorde to veer left on its takeoff roll. As it reached takeoff speed and lifted off the ground, it came within 30 feet of hitting Chirac's 747. The now famous photograph of Flight 4590 ablaze, the only picture taken of the Concorde on fire, was snapped by passenger Toshihiko Sato on Chirac's jetliner.
  • 1999
    Chirac has been named in several cases of alleged corruption that occurred during his term as mayor, some of which have led to felony convictions of some politicians and aides. However, a controversial judicial decision in 1999 granted Chirac immunity while he was president of France.
    More Details Hide Details He refused to testify on these matters, arguing that it would be incompatible with his presidential functions. Investigations concerning the running of Paris's city hall, the number of whose municipal employees jumped by 25% from 1977 to 1995 (with 2,000 out of approximately 35,000 coming from the Corrèze region where Chirac had held his seat as deputy), as well as a lack of financial transparency (marchés publics) and the communal debt, were thwarted by the legal impossibility of questioning him as president. The conditions of the privatisation of the Parisian water network, acquired very cheaply by the Générale and the Lyonnaise des Eaux, then directed by Jérôme Monod, a close friend of Chirac, were also criticised. Furthermore, the satirical newspaper Le Canard enchaîné revealed the astronomical "food expenses" paid by the Parisian municipality (€15 million a year according to the Canard), expenses managed by Roger Romani (who allegedly destroyed all archives of the period 1978–93 during night raids in 1999–2000). Thousands of people were invited each year to receptions in the Paris city hall, while many political, media and artistic personalities were hosted in private flats owned by the city.
    Jean Tiberi, Chirac's successor at the Paris townhall, was forced to resign after having been put under investigations in June 1999 on charges of trafic d'influences in the HLMs of Paris affairs (related to the illegal financing of the RPR).
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  • 1997
    In 1997, Chirac dissolved parliament for early legislative elections in a gamble designed to bolster support for his conservative economic program.
    More Details Hide Details But instead, it created an uproar, and his power was weakened by the subsequent backlash. The Socialist Party (PS), joined by other parties on the left, soundly defeated Chirac's conservative allies, forcing Chirac into a new period of cohabitation with Jospin as prime minister (1997–2002), which lasted five years. Cohabitation significantly weakened the power of Chirac's presidency. The French president, by a constitutional convention, only controls foreign and military policy— and even then, allocation of funding is under the control of Parliament and under the significant influence of the prime minister. Short of dissolving parliament and calling for new elections, the president was left with little power to influence public policy regarding crime, the economy, and public services. Chirac seized the occasion to periodically criticise Jospin's government. Nevertheless, his position was weakened by scandals about the financing of RPR by Paris municipality. In 2001, the left, represented by Bertrand Delanoë (PS), won over the majority in the town council of the capital.
  • 1996
    On 1 February 1996, Chirac announced that France had ended "once and for all" its nuclear testing, intending to accede to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
    More Details Hide Details Elected as President of the Republic, he refused to discuss the existence of French military bases in Africa, despite requests by the Ministry of Defence and the Quai d'Orsay (Ministry of Foreign Affairs). The French Army thus remained in Côte d'Ivoire as well as in Omar Bongo's Gabon.
  • 1995
    After François Mitterrand left office in 1995, new President Chirac began a rapprochement with NATO by joining the Military Committee and attempting to negiotiate a return to the integrated military command, which failed after the French demand for parity with the United States went unmet.
    More Details Hide Details The possibility of a further attempt foundered after Chirac was forced by an election into cohabitation with a Socialist-led cabinet between 1997–2002, then poor Franco-American relations after the French UN veto threat over Iraq in 2003 made transatlantic negotiations impossible.
    Shortly after taking office, Chiracundaunted by international protests by environmental groupsinsisted upon the resumption of nuclear tests at Mururoa Atoll in French Polynesia in 1995, a few months before signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
    More Details Hide Details Reacting to criticism, Chirac said, "You only have to look back at 1935 There were people then who were against France arming itself, and look what happened."
    At the year's end Chirac faced major workers' strikes which turned itself, in November–December 1995, into a general strike, one of the largest since May 1968.
    More Details Hide Details The demonstrations were largely pitted against Juppé's plan on the reform of pensions, and led to the dismissal of the latter.
    President of the French Republic: 1995–2007. Reelected in 2002. Member of the Constitutional Council of France: Since 2007. Governmental functions Prime minister: 1974–76 (Resignation) / 1986–88. Minister of Interior: March–May 1974. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: 1972–74. Minister of Relation with Parliament: 1971–72. Secretary of State for Economy and Finance: 1968–71. Secretary of State for Social Affairs: 1967–68. Electoral mandates European Parliament Member of European Parliament: 1979–80 (Resignation). Elected in 1979. National Assembly of France Elected in 1967, reelected in 1968, 1973, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1988, 1993: Member for Corrèze: March–April 1967 (became Secretary of State in April 1967), reelected in 1968, 1973, but he remained a minister in 1976–1986 (became Prime Minister in 1986), 1988–95 (resigned to become President of the French Republic in 1995). General Council President of the General Council of Corrèze: 1970–1979. Reelected in 1973, 1976. General councillor of Corrèze: 1968–88. Reelected in 1970, 1976, 1982. Municipal Council Mayor of Paris: 1977–95 (Resignation, became President of the French Republic in 1995). Reelected in 1983, 1989. Councillor of Paris: 1977–1995 (Resignation). Reelected in 1983, 1989. Municipal councillor of Sainte-Féréole: 1965–77. Reelected in 1971. Political function President of the Rally for the Republic: 1976–94 (Resignation).
    More Details Hide Details 27 May 1974 – 25 August 1976) 20 March 1986 – 12 May 1988)
    During the 1995 presidential campaign, Chirac criticised the "sole thought" (pensée unique) of neoliberalism represented by his challenger on the right and promised to reduce the "social fracture", placing himself more to the centre and thus forcing Balladur to radicalise himself.
    More Details Hide Details Ultimately, he obtained more votes than Balladur in the first round (20.8 percent), and then defeated the Socialist candidate Lionel Jospin in the second round (52.6 percent). Chirac was elected on a platform of tax cuts and job programmes, but his policies did little to ease the labour strikes during his first months in office. On the domestic front, neo-liberal economic austerity measures introduced by Chirac and his conservative prime minister Alain Juppé, including budgetary cutbacks, proved highly unpopular. At about the same time, it became apparent that Juppé and others had obtained preferential conditions for public housing, as well as other perks.
    Chirac announced that he did not want to come back as prime minister, suggesting the appointment of Edouard Balladur, who had promised that he would not run for the presidency against Chirac in 1995.
    More Details Hide Details However, benefiting from positive polls, Balladur decided to be a presidential candidate, with the support of a majority of right-wing politicians. Balladur broke at that time with a number of friends and allies, including Charles Pasqua, Nicolas Sarkozy, etc., who supported his candidacy. A small group of "fidels" would remain with Chirac, including Alain Juppé and Jean-Louis Debré.
    He argued for more socially responsible economic policies, and was elected in 1995 after campaigning on a platform of healing the "social rift" (fracture sociale).
    More Details Hide Details Then, Chirac's economic policies, based on dirigisme, state-directed ideals, stood in opposition to the laissez-faire policies of the United Kingdom, which Chirac famously described as "Anglo-Saxon ultraliberalism". In evaluating Chirac's presidency a decade later, the British magazine The Economist stated:
  • 1992
    In 1992, convinced a man could not become President whilst advocating anti-European policies, he called for a "yes" vote in the referendum on the Maastricht Treaty, against the opinion of Pasqua, Séguin and a majority of the RPR voters, who chose to vote "no".
    More Details Hide Details While he still was mayor of Paris (since 1977), Chirac went to Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire) where he supported President Houphouët-Boigny (1960–1993), although the latter was being called a "thief" by the local population. Chirac then declared that multipartism was a "kind of luxury." Nevertheless, the right won the 1993 legislative election.
  • 1988
    Chirac ran against Mitterrand for a second time in the 1988 election.
    More Details Hide Details He obtained 20 percent of the vote in the first round, but lost the second with only 46 percent. He resigned from the cabinet and the right lost the next legislative election. For the first time, his leadership over the RPR was challenged. Charles Pasqua and Philippe Séguin criticised his abandonment of Gaullist doctrines. On the right, a new generation of politicians, the "renovation men", accused Chirac and Giscard of being responsible for the electoral defeats.
  • 1986
    One of his first acts concerning foreign policy was to call back Jacques Foccart (1913–1997), who had been de Gaulle's and his successors' leading counsellor for African matters, called by journalist Stephen Smith the "father of all "networks" on the continent, at the time 1986 aged 72."
    More Details Hide Details Jacques Foccart, who had also co-founded the Gaullist SAC militia (dissolved by Mitterrand in 1982 after the Auriol massacre) along with Charles Pasqua, and who was a key component of the "Françafrique" system, was again called to the Elysée Palace when Chirac won the 1995 presidential election. Furthermore, confronted by anti-colonialist movements in New Caledonia, Prime Minister Chirac ordered a military intervention against the separatists in the Ouvéa cave, leading to several tragic deaths. He allegedly refused any alliance with Jean-Marie Le Pen's Front National.
    Elsewhere, the plan for university reform (plan Devaquet) caused a crisis in 1986 when a student called Malik Oussekine was killed by the police, leading to massive demonstrations and the proposal's withdrawal.
    More Details Hide Details It has been said during other student crises that this event strongly affected Jacques Chirac, who was afterwards careful about possible police violence during such demonstrations (e.g., maybe explaining part of the decision to "promulgate without applying" the First Employment Contract (CPE) after large student demonstrations against it).
    When the RPR/UDF right-wing coalition won a slight majority in the National Assembly in the 1986 election, Mitterrand (PS) appointed Chirac prime minister (though many in Mitterrand's inner circle lobbied him to choose Jacques Chaban-Delmas instead).
    More Details Hide Details This unprecedented power-sharing arrangement, known as cohabitation, gave Chirac the lead in domestic affairs. However, it is generally conceded that Mitterrand used the areas granted to the President of the Republic, or "reserved domains" of the Presidency, Defence and Foreign Affairs, to belittle his Prime Minister. Chirac's cabinet sold many public companies, renewing with the liberalisation initiated under Laurent Fabius's Socialist government (1984–1986 – in particular with Fabius' privatisation of the audiovisual sector, leading to the creation of Canal +), and abolished the solidarity tax on wealth (ISF), a symbolic tax on very high resources championed by Mitterrand's government.
  • 1981
    The Israeli Air Force alleged that the reactor's imminent commissioning was a threat to its security, and pre-emptively bombed the Osirak reactor on 7 June 1981, provoking considerable anger from French officials and the United Nations Security Council. The Osirak deal became a controversy again in 2002–2003, when an international military coalition led by the United States invaded Iraq and forcibly removed Hussein's government from power.
    More Details Hide Details France led several other European countries in an effort to prevent the invasion. The Osirak deal was then used by parts of the American media to criticise the Chirac-led opposition to starting a war in Iraq, despite French involvement in the Gulf War.
    After 1981, the relationship between the two men became tense, with Giscard, even though he was in the same government coalition as Chirac, criticising Chirac's actions openly. After the May 1981 presidential election, the right also lost the subsequent legislative election that year.
    More Details Hide Details However, as Giscard had been knocked out, Chirac appeared as the principal leader of the right-wing opposition. Due to his attacks against the economic policy of the Socialist government, he gradually aligned himself with prevailing economic liberal opinion, even though it did not correspond with Gaullist doctrine. While the far-right National Front grew, taking advantage of a proportional representation electoral law, he signed an electoral platform with the Giscardian (and more or less Christian Democratic) party Union for French Democracy (UDF).
    Chirac made his first run for president against Giscard d'Estaing in the 1981 election, thus splitting the centre-right vote.
    More Details Hide Details He was eliminated in the first round with 18% of the vote. He reluctantly supported Giscard in the second round. He refused to give instructions to the RPR voters but said that he supported the incumbent president "in a private capacity", which was almost like a de facto support of the Socialist Party's (PS) candidate, François Mitterrand, who was elected by a broad majority. Giscard has always blamed Chirac for his defeat. He was told by Mitterrand, before his death, that the latter had dined with Chirac before the election. Chirac told the Socialist candidate that he wanted to "get rid of Giscard". In his memoirs, Giscard wrote that between the two rounds, he phoned the RPR headquarters. He passed himself off as a right-wing voter by changing his voice. The RPR employee advised him "certainly do not vote Giscard!".
  • 1979
    He appointed Ivan Blot, an intellectual who would later join the National Front, as director of his campaigns for the 1979 European election.
    More Details Hide Details After the poor results of the election, Chirac broke with Garaud and Juillet. Vexed Marie-France Garaud stated: "We thought Chirac was made of the same marble of which statues are carved in, we perceive he's of the same faience bidets are made of." His rivalry with Giscard d'Estaing intensified. Although it has been often interpreted by historians as the struggle between two rival French right-wing families (the Bonapartists, represented by Chirac, and the Orleanists, represented by VGE), both figures in fact were members of the liberal, Orleanist tradition, according to historian Alain-Gérard Slama. But the eviction of the Gaullist Barons and of President VGE convinced Chirac to assume a strong neo-Gaullist stance.
  • 1978
    In 1978, he attacked the pro-European policy of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing (VGE), and made a nationalist turn with the December 1978 Call of Cochin, initiated by his counsellors Marie-France Garaud and Pierre Juillet, which had first been called by Pompidou.
    More Details Hide Details Hospitalised in Cochin hospital after a crash, he declared that "as always about the drooping of France, the pro-foreign party acts with its peaceable and reassuring voice".
  • 1977
    In 1977, Chirac stood as a candidate against Michel d'Ornano, a close friend of the president, and he won.
    More Details Hide Details As mayor of Paris, Chirac's political influence grew. He held this post until 1995. Chirac supporters point out that, as mayor, he provided programmes to help the elderly, people with disabilities, and single mothers, and introduced the street-cleaning Motocrotte, while providing incentives for businesses to stay in Paris. His opponents contend that he installed "clientelist" policies.
  • 1976
    Because of Jacques Chirac's long career in visible government positions, he has often been parodied or caricatured: Young Jacques Chirac is the basis of a young, dashing bureaucrat character in the 1976 Asterix comic strip album Obelix and Co., proposing methods to quell Gallic unrest to elderly, old-style Roman politicians.
    More Details Hide Details Chirac was also featured in Le Bêbête Show as an overexcited, jumpy character. Jacques Chirac is a favorite character of Les Guignols de l'Info, a satiric latex puppet show. He was once portrayed as a rather likable, though overexcited, character; however, following the corruption allegations, he has been shown as a kind of dilettante and incompetent who pilfers public money and lies through his teeth. His character for a while developed a superhero alter ego, Super Menteur ("Super Liar") in order to get him out of embarrassing situations. Because of his alleged improprieties, he was lambasted in a song Chirac en prison ("Chirac in jail") by French punk band Les Wampas, with a video clip made by the Guignols. His role is played by Charles Fathy in the Oliver Stone film W. and in The Conquest by Bernard Le Coq.
    Citing Giscard's unwillingness to give him authority, Chirac resigned as Prime Minister in 1976.
    More Details Hide Details He proceeded to build up his political base among France's several conservative parties, with a goal of reconstituting the Gaullist UDR into a Neo-Gaullist group, the Rally for the Republic (RPR). Chirac's first tenure as prime minister was also an arguably progressive one, with improvements in both the minimum wage and the social welfare system carried out during the course of his premiership. After his departure from the cabinet, Chirac wanted to gain the leadership of the political right, in order to gain the French presidency in the future. The RPR was conceived as an electoral machine against President Giscard d'Estaing. Paradoxically, Chirac benefited from Giscard's decision to create the office of mayor in Paris, which had been in abeyance since the 1871 Commune, because the leaders of the Third Republic (1871–1940) feared that having municipal control of the capital would give the mayor too much power.
  • 1975
    At the invitation of Saddam Hussein (then vice-president of Iraq, but de facto dictator), Chirac made an official visit to Baghdad in 1975.
    More Details Hide Details Saddam approved a deal granting French oil companies a number of privileges plus a 23-percent share of Iraqi oil. As part of this deal, France sold Iraq the Osirak MTR nuclear reactor, a type designed to test nuclear materials.
  • 1974
    In December 1974, he took the lead of the Union of Democrats for the Republic (UDR) against the will of its more senior personalities.
    More Details Hide Details As prime minister, Chirac quickly set about persuading the Gaullists that, despite the social reforms proposed by President Giscard, the basic tenets of Gaullism, such as national and European independence, would be retained. Chirac was advised by Pierre Juillet and Marie-France Garaud, two former advisers of Pompidou. These two organised the campaign against Chaban-Delmas in 1974. They advocated a clash with Giscard d'Estaing because they thought his policy bewildered the conservative electorate.
    When Valéry Giscard d'Estaing became president, he nominated Chirac as prime minister on 27 May 1974, in order to reconcile the "Giscardian" and "non-Giscardian" factions of the parliamentary majority.
    More Details Hide Details At the age of 41, Chirac stood out as the very model of the jeunes loups ("young wolves") of French politics, but he was faced with the hostility of the "Barons of Gaullism" who considered him a traitor for his role during the previous presidential campaign.
    From March 1974, he was entrusted by President Pompidou with preparations for the presidential election then scheduled for 1976.
    More Details Hide Details These elections were moved forward because of Pompidou's sudden death on 2 April 1974. Chirac vainly attempted to rally Gaullists behind Prime Minister Pierre Messmer. Jacques Chaban-Delmas announced his candidacy in spite of the disapproval of the "Pompidolians". Chirac and others published the call of the 43 in favour of Giscard d'Estaing, the leader of the non-Gaullist part of the parliamentary majority. Giscard d'Estaing was elected as Pompidou's successor after France's most competitive election campaign in years. In return, the new president chose Chirac to lead the cabinet.
    On 21 March 1974, he cancelled the SAFARI project due to privacy concerns after its existence was revealed by Le Monde.
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    On 27 February 1974, after the resignation of Raymond Marcellin, Chirac was appointed Minister of the Interior.
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    Chirac served as Prime Minister of France from 1974 to 1976, from 1986 to 1988, and as the Mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995.
    More Details Hide Details After completing his degree at the Institut d'études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), a term at Harvard University, and the École nationale d'administration (ENA), Chirac began his career as a high-level civil servant, and soon entered politics. Chirac occupied various senior positions, including Minister of Agriculture, Minister of the Interior, Prime Minister, Mayor of Paris, and President of the French Republic. Chirac's internal policies initially included lower tax rates, the removal of price controls, strong punishment for crime and terrorism, and business privatisation. After pursuing these policies as Prime Minister (1986–1988), Chirac changed his method.
  • 1972
    After some months in the ministry of relations with Parliament, Chirac's first high-level post came in 1972 when he became Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development under Pompidou, who had been elected president in 1969, after de Gaulle retired.
    More Details Hide Details Chirac quickly earned a reputation as a champion of French farmers' interests, and first attracted international attention when he assailed U.S., West German, and European Commission agricultural policies which conflicted with French interests.
  • 1968
    When student and worker unrest rocked France in May 1968, Chirac played a central role in negotiating a truce.
    More Details Hide Details Then, as state secretary of economy (1968–1971), he worked closely with Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, who headed the ministry of economy and finance.
  • 1967
    At Pompidou's suggestion, Chirac ran as a Gaullist for a seat in the National Assembly in 1967.
    More Details Hide Details He was elected deputy for his home Corrèze département, a stronghold of the left. This surprising victory in the context of a Gaullist ebb permitted him to enter the government as Minister of Social Affairs.
  • 1962
    In April 1962, Chirac was appointed head of the personal staff of Prime Minister Georges Pompidou.
    More Details Hide Details This appointment launched Chirac's political career. Pompidou considered Chirac his protégé, and referred to him as "my bulldozer" for his skill at getting things done. The nickname "Le Bulldozer" caught on in French political circles. Chirac still maintains this reputation. In 1995 an anonymous British diplomat said Chirac "cuts through the crap and comes straight to the point... It's refreshing, although you have to put your seat belt on when you work with him".
  • 1959
    After leaving the ENA in 1959, he became a civil servant in the Court of Auditors.
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  • 1956
    In 1956, he married Bernadette Chodron de Courcel, with whom he had two daughters: Laurence (born 4 March 1958, deceased 14 April 2016) and Claude (6 December 1962).
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  • 1953
    In 1953, after graduating from the Paris Institute of Political Studies, he attended Harvard University's summer school, before entering the ENA, the Grande école National School of Administration, which trains France's top civil servants, in 1957.
    More Details Hide Details Chirac trained as a reserve military officer in armoured cavalry at Saumur, where he was ranked first in his year. He then volunteered to fight in the Algerian War, using personal connections to be sent despite the reservations of his superiors. His superiors did not want to make him an officer because they suspected he had communist leanings.
  • 1950
    In 1950, he signed the Soviet-inspired Stockholm Appeal for the abolition of nuclear weapons – which led him to be questioned when he applied for his first visa to the United States.
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  • 1940
    Although Chirac was well-situated in de Gaulle's entourage, being related by marriage to the general's sole companion at the time of the Appeal of 18 June 1940, he was more of a "Pompidolian" than a "Gaullist".
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  • 1932
    Born on November 29, 1932.
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