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Jacques Chirac

President Chirac

Jacques RenÚ Chirac (born in Paris November 29, 1932), is a French politician. Elected President of the French Republic in 1995 and 2002.

Jacques Chirac was a collaborator of French Presidents Georges Pompidou in the 1960s and ValÚry Giscard d'Estaing in the 1970s. He was mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995 and Prime Minister in 1974 - 1976 and 1986 - 1988. He ran for President without success in 1981, 1988, and was elected in 1995 and 2002.

His father was a bank clerk and later an executive for an aircraft company. He graduated from:

  • LycÚe Louis-le-Grand in 1950
  • Institut d'Etudes Politiques in 1953 (public service and politics)
  • Ecole Nationale d'Administration[?] in 1959 (elite school for government service)

He made his military service in the French Army from 1954 to 1957. He was wounded during the French-Algerian war. Currently married to Bernadette Chodron de Courcel, they had two daughters, among which Claude Chirac[?]. He is a Roman Catholic.

Political Career:

  • Auditor of the French governement's general accounting office from 1960
  • Joined the staff of Prime Minister George Pompidou in 1962 (undersecretary of state for social affairs)
  • Elected to the National Assembly in 1967. In 1968, he played a very important role in negociating a truce in the student and worker strikes of 1968
  • Secretary of state for the economy and rural development in 1973
  • Agriculture and Rural Development Minister from 1973 to 1974
  • Interior Minister in 1974
  • Prime Minister from 1974 to 1976, and then from 1986 to 1988
  • Mayor of Paris, from 1977 to 1995
  • President, since 1995

Chirac stayed very much in the center-right as a Gaullist[?] follower, standing for lower tax rates, price controls removal, strong punishments for crime and terrorism and business privatization.

Jacques Chirac ran for president in 1981 but was defeated by Mitterrand. This latter socialist governement taxes, nationalized banks and institutions and generaly went on spending public money. By 1983, Mitterrand government was forced to change course because of economy being in trouble. Mitterrand had to share power with right-wing parliament and thus made Chirac his prime minister (Cohabitation). Chirac was defeated again in the presidential election of 1988 (against Mitterrand) but remained mayor of Paris and active in Parliament.

Chirac was finally elected president of France in 1995 but had to spend a lot of time quieting down disillusioned electorate. Unemployment in France remains among the highest in the European Union and strikes are very frequent. Chirac was also suspected of corruption.

On July 14, 2002 during Bastille Day celebrations, Chirac survived an assassination attempt by a lone gunman with a rifle hidden in a guitar case. The would-be assassin fired a shot towards the presidential motorcade, then was overpowered by bystanders.

He totally opposed any war with Iraq in 2002 and 2003, calling for more time for the UN inspectors. Together with German chancellor Gerhard Schr÷der and Russian president Vladimir Putin, he called for diplomacy instead of war.

Preceded by:
Francois Mitterrand
President of France Succeeded by:

See also: French presidential election, 2002

External link

  • BBC news article (http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_2127000/2127946.stm) on the assassination attempt

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