Jacques Chirac was a collaborator of French Presidents Georges Pompidou in the 1960s and Valéry 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:
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.
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 Schröder and Russian president Vladimir Putin, he called for diplomacy instead of war.
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See also: French presidential election, 2002