Jacques Chirac
Overview
 
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
Prime Minister of France
The Prime Minister of France in the Fifth Republic is the head of government and of the Council of Ministers of France. The head of state is the President of the French Republic...

 from 1974 to 1976 and from 1986 to 1988 (making him the only person to hold the position of Prime Minister twice under the Fifth Republic
French Fifth Republic
The Fifth Republic is the fifth and current republican constitution of France, introduced on 4 October 1958. The Fifth Republic emerged from the collapse of the French Fourth Republic, replacing the prior parliamentary government with a semi-presidential system...

), and as Mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995.

After completing his studies of the DEA
DEA (former French degree)
A Master of Advanced Studies is a non-consecutive postgraduate degree awarded predominantly in European countries. A MAS program offers comprehensive training in a specific field and can either give access to higher qualification in one's profession or lead to a new profession...

's degree at the Institut d'études politiques de Paris
Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris
The Institut d'études politiques de Paris , simply referred to as Sciences Po , is a public research and higher education institution in Paris, France, specialised in the social sciences. It has the status of grand établissement, which allows its admissions process to be highly selective...

, a term at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 and the École nationale d'administration
École nationale d'administration
The École Nationale d'Administration , one of the most prestigious of French graduate schools , was created in 1945 by Charles de Gaulle to democratise access to the senior civil service. It is now entrusted with the selection and initial training of senior French officials...

 (ENA), Chirac began his career as a high-level civil servant, and soon entered politics.
Encyclopedia
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
Prime Minister of France
The Prime Minister of France in the Fifth Republic is the head of government and of the Council of Ministers of France. The head of state is the President of the French Republic...

 from 1974 to 1976 and from 1986 to 1988 (making him the only person to hold the position of Prime Minister twice under the Fifth Republic
French Fifth Republic
The Fifth Republic is the fifth and current republican constitution of France, introduced on 4 October 1958. The Fifth Republic emerged from the collapse of the French Fourth Republic, replacing the prior parliamentary government with a semi-presidential system...

), and as Mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995.

After completing his studies of the DEA
DEA (former French degree)
A Master of Advanced Studies is a non-consecutive postgraduate degree awarded predominantly in European countries. A MAS program offers comprehensive training in a specific field and can either give access to higher qualification in one's profession or lead to a new profession...

's degree at the Institut d'études politiques de Paris
Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris
The Institut d'études politiques de Paris , simply referred to as Sciences Po , is a public research and higher education institution in Paris, France, specialised in the social sciences. It has the status of grand établissement, which allows its admissions process to be highly selective...

, a term at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 and the École nationale d'administration
École nationale d'administration
The École Nationale d'Administration , one of the most prestigious of French graduate schools , was created in 1945 by Charles de Gaulle to democratise access to the senior civil service. It is now entrusted with the selection and initial training of senior French officials...

 (ENA), Chirac began his career as a high-level civil servant, and soon entered politics. He subsequently occupied various senior positions, including Minister of Agriculture
Minister of Agriculture (France)
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing of France is the governmental body charged with regulation and policy, for agriculture, fisheries, forestry and food.The department is headquartered in Hotel Villeroy, at No...

, Minister of the Interior
Minister of the Interior (France)
The Minister of the Interior in France is one of the most important governmental cabinet positions, responsible for the following:* The general interior security of the country, with respect to criminal acts or natural catastrophes...

, Prime Minister, Mayor of Paris, and finally President of the French Republic
President of the French Republic
The President of the French Republic colloquially referred to in English as the President of France, is France's elected Head of State....

.

Chirac's internal policies included lower tax rates, the removal of price controls
Price controls
Price controls are governmental impositions on the prices charged for goods and services in a market, usually intended to maintain the affordability of staple foods and goods, and to prevent price gouging during shortages, or, alternatively, to insure an income for providers of certain goods...

, strong punishment for crime and terrorism, and business privatization
Privatization
Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector to the private sector or to private non-profit organizations...

. He also argued for more socially responsible economic policies, and was elected in 1995 after campaigning on a platform of healing the "social rift" (fracture sociale). After less statist policy when he was Prime Minister (1986–1988), he changed his method. Then, his economic policies, based on dirigisme
Dirigisme
Dirigisme is an economy in which the government exerts strong directive influence. While the term has occasionally been applied to centrally planned economies, where the state effectively controls both production and allocation of resources , it originally had neither of these meanings when...

, state directed ideals, stood in opposition to the laissez-faire
Laissez-faire
In economics, laissez-faire describes an environment in which transactions between private parties are free from state intervention, including restrictive regulations, taxes, tariffs and enforced monopolies....

policies of the United Kingdom, which Chirac famously described as "Anglo-Saxon
Anglosphere
Anglosphere is a neologism which refers to those nations with English as the most common language. The term can be used more specifically to refer to those nations which share certain characteristics within their cultures based on a linguistic heritage, through being former British colonies...

 ultraliberalism
Neoliberalism
Neoliberalism is a market-driven approach to economic and social policy based on neoclassical theories of economics that emphasizes the efficiency of private enterprise, liberalized trade and relatively open markets, and therefore seeks to maximize the role of the private sector in determining the...

".
Chirac is the second-longest serving President of France (two full terms, the first of seven years and the second of five years), after François Mitterrand
François Mitterrand
François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand was the 21st President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra, serving from 1981 until 1995. He is the longest-serving President of France and, as leader of the Socialist Party, the only figure from the left so far elected President...

. As President, he also served as an ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra and Grand Master of the French Légion d'honneur
Légion d'honneur
The Legion of Honour, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honour is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the Consulat which succeeded to the First Republic, on 19 May 1802...

.

In 2011 he was put on trial for embezzlement trial for misappropriation of public funds using fake jobs paid for by the Paris town hall for full-time workers of his party.

Family and early life

Chirac, born in the Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire clinic (Paris Ve), is the son of Abel François Chirac (1893–1968), a successful executive for an aircraft company, and Marie-Louise Valette (1902–1973), a housewife. His great grandparents on both sides were peasant
Peasant
A peasant is an agricultural worker who generally tend to be poor and homeless-Etymology:The word is derived from 15th century French païsant meaning one from the pays, or countryside, ultimately from the Latin pagus, or outlying administrative district.- Position in society :Peasants typically...

s, but his two grandfathers were teachers from Sainte-Féréole
Sainte-Féréole
Sainte-Féréole is a commune in the Corrèze department in central France.-Population:-References:*...

 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), and was educated in Paris at the Lycée Carnot
Lycée Carnot
The Lycée Carnot is a public secondary and higher education school located at 145 Boulevard Malesherbes in the 17th arrondissement, Paris, France. A prestigious Parisian high school, it is also known as one the best classe préparatoire aux écoles de commerce...

 and at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand
Lycée Louis-le-Grand
The Lycée Louis-le-Grand is a public secondary school located in Paris, widely regarded as one of the most rigorous in France. Formerly known as the Collège de Clermont, it was named in king Louis XIV of France's honor after he visited the school and offered his patronage.It offers both a...

. After his baccalauréat
Baccalauréat
The baccalauréat , often known in France colloquially as le bac, is an academic qualification which French and international students take at the end of the lycée . It was introduced by Napoleon I in 1808. It is the main diploma required to pursue university studies...

, he served for three months as a sailor on a coal-transporter.

Chirac played rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

 for Brive
CA Brive
Club Athlétique Brive Corrèze Limousin is a French rugby union team founded in 1910 and based in Brive-la-Gaillarde in the département of Corrèze of the Limousin région . They wear black and white and play in the Stade Amédée-Domenech .- History :The club was created on 15 March 1910 established on...

's youth team, and also played at university level. He played no. 8 and second row.

In 1956, he married Bernadette Chodron de Courcel
Bernadette Chirac
Bernadette Thérèse Marie Chirac is a French politician and the wife of the former President Jacques Chirac....

, with whom he had two daughters: Laurence (born 4 March 1958) and Claude (14 January 1962). Claude has long worked as a public relations
Public relations
Public relations is the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc....

 assistant and personal adviser, while Laurence, who suffered from anorexia nervosa
Anorexia nervosa
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by refusal to maintain a healthy body weight and an obsessive fear of gaining weight. Although commonly called "anorexia", that term on its own denotes any symptomatic loss of appetite and is not strictly accurate...

 in her youth, does not participate in the political activities of her father. Chirac is the grandfather of Martin Rey-Chirac by the relationship of Claude with French judoka Thierry Rey
Thierry Rey
Thierry Rey is a French judoka, world champion and olympic champion. He won a gold medal in the extra lightweight division at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.-References:...

. Jacques and Bernadette Chirac have also a foster daughter, Anh Dao Traxel
Anh Dao Traxel
Anh Dao Traxel is the foster daughter of former French President Jacques Chirac. She was a boat people refugee, and met Jacques Chirac at Roissy Airport in 1979. He told her "Don’t cry, ma chérie. You are coming home with us" and took her home...

.

Early political career (1950s–1973)

Inspired by General Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....

, Chirac started to pursue a civil service career in the 1950s. During this period, he joined the French Communist Party
French Communist Party
The French Communist Party is a political party in France which advocates the principles of communism.Although its electoral support has declined in recent decades, the PCF retains a large membership, behind only that of the Union for a Popular Movement , and considerable influence in French...

, sold copies of L'Humanité
L'Humanité
L'Humanité , formerly the daily newspaper linked to the French Communist Party , was founded in 1904 by Jean Jaurès, a leader of the French Section of the Workers' International...

, and took part in meetings of a communist cell. In 1950, he signed the Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

-inspired Stockholm Appeal
Stockholm Appeal
March 1950: The World Peace Council releases the Stockholm Appeal calling for an absolute ban on nuclear weapons. The appeal was initiated by the French Communist physicist Frédéric Joliot-Curie, gathered petitions allegedly signed by 273,470,566 persons The text of the Appeal read:“We demand the...

 for the abolition of nuclear weapons – which led him to be questioned when he applied for his first visa to the United States. In 1953, after graduating from "Sciences Po", he attended Harvard University's summer school before entering the ENA, the Grande école
Grandes écoles
The grandes écoles of France are higher education establishments outside the main framework of the French university system. The grandes écoles select students for admission based chiefly on national ranking in competitive written and oral exams...

 which trains France's top civil servants, in 1957.

Chirac trained as a reserve officer in armoured cavalry
Armoured warfare
Armoured warfare or tank warfare is the use of armoured fighting vehicles in modern warfare. It is a major component of modern methods of war....

 at Saumur
Saumur
Saumur is a commune in the Maine-et-Loire department in western France.The historic town is located between the Loire and Thouet rivers, and is surrounded by the vineyards of Saumur itself, Chinon, Bourgueil, Coteaux du Layon, etc...

, where he was ranked first among his year. He then volunteered to fight in the Algerian War, to be sent there despite the reservations of his superiors using personal connections. His superiors did not want to make him an officer due to suspicions of his Communism.

After leaving ENA in 1959, he became a civil servant in the Court of Auditors. In April 1962, Chirac was appointed head of the personal staff of Prime Minister Georges Pompidou
Georges Pompidou
Georges Jean Raymond Pompidou was a French politician. He was Prime Minister of France from 1962 to 1968, holding the longest tenure in this position, and later President of the French Republic from 1969 until his death in 1974.-Biography:...

. 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". At Pompidou's suggestion, Chirac ran as a Gaullist for a seat in the National Assembly
French National Assembly
The French National Assembly is the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of France under the Fifth Republic. The upper house is the Senate ....

 in 1967. He was elected deputy for his home Corrèze
Corrèze
Corrèze is a department in south central France, named after the Corrèze River.The inhabitants of the department are called Corréziens or Corréziennes according to gender.-History:...

 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
Minister of Social Affairs (France)
The Minister of Social Affairs and Employment The Minister of Social Affairs and Employment The Minister of Social Affairs and Employment (French: Ministre des Affaires sociales et de l'emploi is a cabinet member in the Government of France. The position was originally known as Minister of Labor...

. 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".

When student and worker unrest rocked France in May 1968, Chirac played a central role in negotiating a truce. Then, as state secretary of economy (1968–1971), he had worked closely with Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
Valéry Marie René Georges Giscard d'Estaing is a French centre-right politician who was President of the French Republic from 1974 until 1981...

, who headed the ministry of economy and finance. 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
Minister of Agriculture (France)
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing of France is the governmental body charged with regulation and policy, for agriculture, fisheries, forestry and food.The department is headquartered in Hotel Villeroy, at No...

 and rural development under Pompidou, elected president in 1969. 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
European Commission
The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

 agricultural policies which conflicted with French interests. On 27 February 1974, after the resignation of Raymond Marcellin
Raymond Marcellin
Raymond Marcellin was a French politician.- Biography :The son of a banker, he studied law at the University of Strasbourg and the University of Paris. He worked as a lawyer for three years, before being called into the army in September 1939. He was captured by the Wehrmacht, but managed to...

, Chirac was appointed Minister of the Interior
Minister of the Interior (France)
The Minister of the Interior in France is one of the most important governmental cabinet positions, responsible for the following:* The general interior security of the country, with respect to criminal acts or natural catastrophes...

. On 21 March 1974, he cancelled the SAFARI
SAFARI
SAFARI was an attempt by the French government, under the presidency of Georges Pompidou, to create a centralized database of personal data. The database was supposed to interconnect data, in particular through the use of the INSEE code .On March 21, 1974 an article in the newspaper Le Monde...

 project due to privacy concerns after its existence was revealed by Le Monde
Le Monde
Le Monde is a French daily evening newspaper owned by La Vie-Le Monde Group and edited in Paris. It is one of two French newspapers of record, and has generally been well respected since its first edition under founder Hubert Beuve-Méry on 19 December 1944...

. From March 1974, he was entrusted by President Pompidou with preparations for the presidential election then scheduled for 1976. However, these elections were brought forward because of Pompidou's sudden death on 2 April.

Chirac was behind the vain attempt to rally Gaullists behind Prime minister Pierre Messmer
Pierre Messmer
Pierre Joseph Auguste Messmer was a French Gaullist politician. He served as Minister of Armies under Charles de Gaulle from 1960 to 1969 – the longest serving since Étienne François, duc de Choiseul under Louis XV – and then as Prime Minister under Georges Pompidou from 1972 to 1974...

. Jacques Chaban-Delmas
Jacques Chaban-Delmas
Jacques Chaban-Delmas was a French Gaullist politician. He served as Prime Minister under Georges Pompidou from 1969 to 1972. In addition, for almost half a century, he was Mayor of Bordeaux and a deputy for the Gironde département....

 announced his candidacy in spite of the disapproval of the "Pompidolians". Chirac and others published the call of the 43 in favor 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.

Prime Minister (1974–1976)

When Giscard
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
Valéry Marie René Georges Giscard d'Estaing is a French centre-right politician who was President of the French Republic from 1974 until 1981...

 became president, he nominated Chirac as prime minister
Prime Minister of France
The Prime Minister of France in the Fifth Republic is the head of government and of the Council of Ministers of France. The head of state is the President of the French Republic...

 on 27 May 1974 in order to reconcile the "Giscardian" and "non-Giscardian" factions of the parliamentary majority. At the age of 41, Chirac stood out as the very model of the jeunes loups ("young wolves") of French political life, but he faced with the hostility of the "Barons of Gaullism" who considered him a traitor for his role during the previous presidential campaign. In December 1974, he took the lead of the Union of Democrats for the Republic
Gaullist Party
In France, the Gaullist Party is usually used to refer to the largest party professing to be Gaullist. Gaullism claimed to transcend the left/right rift...

 (UDR) against the will of its more senior personalities.

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. Citing Giscard's unwillingness to give him authority, Chirac resigned as Prime Minister in 1976. 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).

Osirak controversy

At the invitation of Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

 (then vice-president of Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, but de facto dictator), Chirac made an official visit to Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 in 1975. Saddam approved a deal granting French oil companies a number of privileges plus a 23 per cent share of Iraqi oil. As part of this deal, France sold Iraq the Osirak MTR nuclear reactor
Nuclear reactor
A nuclear reactor is a device to initiate and control a sustained nuclear chain reaction. Most commonly they are used for generating electricity and for the propulsion of ships. Usually heat from nuclear fission is passed to a working fluid , which runs through turbines that power either ship's...

, a type designed to test nuclear materials.

The Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

 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
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 invaded Iraq
Rationale for the Iraq War
The rationale for the Iraq War has been a contentious issue since the Bush administration began actively pressing for military intervention in Iraq in late 2001. The primary rationalization for the Iraq War was articulated by a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress known as the Iraq Resolution.The...

 and forcibly removed Hussein's government from power. France led several other Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an countries in an effort to prevent the invasion. The Osirak deal was then used by parts of the American media to criticize the Chirac-led opposition to starting a war in Iraq
Opposition to the Iraq War
Significant opposition to the Iraq War occurred worldwide, both before and during the initial 2003 invasion of Iraq by the United States, United Kingdom, and smaller contingents from other nations, and throughout the subsequent occupation...

, despite French involvement in the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

.

Mayor of Paris (1977–1995)

After his departure from the cabinet, Chirac wanted to take the leadership over the right in order to gain the presidency. 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
Paris Commune
The Paris Commune was a government that briefly ruled Paris from March 18 to May 28, 1871. It existed before the split between anarchists and Marxists had taken place, and it is hailed by both groups as the first assumption of power by the working class during the Industrial Revolution...

, because the leaders of the Third Republic
French Third Republic
The French Third Republic was the republican government of France from 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed due to the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, to 1940, when France was overrun by Nazi Germany during World War II, resulting in the German and Italian occupations of France...

 (1871–1940) feared that having municipal control of the capital would give the mayor too much power. In 1977, Chirac stood as candidate against Michel d'Ornano
Michel d'Ornano
Michel d'Ornano was a French politician. A descendant of both Marie Walewska and Philippe Antoine d'Ornano, he began his political career as mayor of Deauville in 1962...

, a close friend of the president, and he won. As mayor of Paris, Chirac's political influence grew. He held this post until 1995.

Chirac supporters point out that, as mayor, he provided programs to help the elderly, people with disabilities, and single mothers, and introduced the street-cleaning Motocrotte
Motocrotte
The Motocrotte, officially called Caninette was a small motorized vehicle designed to clean up dog faeces in Paris, France.Introduced in 1982 by then mayor Jacques Chirac, the idea was to provide a rapid mobile strike force, which could travel great distances with access to sidewalks in a minimum...

, while providing incentives for businesses to stay in Paris. His opponents contend that he installed "clientelist" policies.

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. 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 2000 out of approximatively 35000 coming from the Corrèze region where Chirac held his seat as deputy), as well as a lack of transparency concerning accounts of public tendering (marchés publics) or of 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
Compagnie Générale des Eaux
Compagnie Générale des Eaux was a French multinational company which gave birth to three world's leaders in their respective fields: VINCI, Veolia Environnement and Vivendi....

 and the Lyonnaise des Eaux
Suez Environnement
Suez Environnement S.A. is a French-based utility company which operates largely in the water treatment and waste management sectors. Formerly an operating division of Suez, the company was spun out as a stand-alone entity as part of the merger to form GDF Suez on 22 July 2008. GDF Suez remains...

, then directed by Jérôme Monod, a close friend of Chirac, were also criticised. Furthermore, the satirical newspaper Le Canard enchaîné
Le Canard enchaîné
Le Canard enchaîné is a satirical newspaper published weekly in France. Founded in 1915, it features investigative journalism and leaks from sources inside the French government, the French political world and the French business world, as well as many jokes and humorous cartoons.-Early...

revealed the high amount of "food expenses" paid by the Parisian municipality (€15 million a year according to the Canard), expenses managed by Roger Romani
Roger Romani
Roger Romani is a member of the Senate of France, representing the city of Paris. He is a member of the Union for a Popular Movement. Currently he serves as a vice-president of the Senate.-References:*...

 (who allegedly destroyed all archives of the period 1978–1993 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.

Chirac's immunity from prosecution ended in May 2007, when he left office. 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. On 30 October 2009, a judge ordered Chirac to stand trial on embezzlement charges dating back to his time as mayor of Paris.

Struggle for the right-wing leadership

In 1978, he attacked the pro-European
Pro-European
Pro-European is a subjective term applied to a person who supports the idea of European unification and generally supports further 'deepening' of European integration, specifically in the context of political argument over the current and future status of the EU and its policies.-The Pro-European...

 policy of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
Valéry Marie René Georges Giscard d'Estaing is a French centre-right politician who was President of the French Republic from 1974 until 1981...

 (VGE), and made a nationalist turn with the December 1978 Call of Cochin
Call of Cochin
The Call of Cochin is a famous discourse published on December 6, 1978 by Jacques Chirac, former Prime Minister of France, president of the Rally for the Republic party, and mayor of Paris....

, initiated by his counsellors Marie-France Garaud and Pierre Juillet, which had first been called by Pompidou. Hospitalised in Cochin hospital after a crash, he then declared that "as always about the drooping of France, the pro-foreign party acts with its peaceable and reassuring voice". Furthermore, he appointed Ivan Blot, an intellectual who would join later, for some time, the National Front, as director of his campaigns for the 1979 European election. After the poor results of the election, Chirac broke with Garaud and Juillet. Nevertheless, the already-established rivalry with Giscard d'Estaing became even more intense. Although it has been often interpreted by historians as the struggle between two rival French right-wing families, the Bonapartist
Bonapartist
In French political history, Bonapartism has two meanings. In a strict sense, this term refers to people who aimed to restore the French Empire under the House of Bonaparte, the Corsican family of Napoleon Bonaparte and his nephew Louis...

s, represented by Chirac, and the Orleanist
Orléanist
The Orléanists were a French right-wing/center-right party which arose out of the French Revolution. It governed France 1830-1848 in the "July Monarchy" of king Louis Philippe. It is generally seen as a transitional period dominated by the bourgeoisie and the conservative Orleanist doctrine in...

s, 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.

Chirac made his first run for president against Giscard d'Estaing in the 1981 election
French presidential election, 1981
The French presidential election of 1981 took place on 10 May 1981, giving the presidency of France to François Mitterrand, the first Socialist president of the Fifth Republic....

, thus splitting the centre-right vote. He was eliminated in the first round (18%) then, 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
François Mitterrand
François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand was the 21st President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra, serving from 1981 until 1995. He is the longest-serving President of France and, as leader of the Socialist Party, the only figure from the left so far elected President...

, 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!". After 1981, the relationship between the two men became somewhat tense, with Giscard, even though he was in the same government coalition as Chirac, taking opportunities to criticise Chirac's actions.

After the May 1981 presidential election, the right also lost the subsequent legislative election
French legislative election, 1981
French legislative elections took place on 14 June and 21 June 1981 to elect the 7th National Assembly of the Fifth Republic.On 10 May 1981 François Mitterrand was elected President of France. He became the first Socialist to win this post under universal suffrage...

 that year. 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 progressively aligned himself with prevailing economic liberal opinion, even if this did not correspond with the Gaullist doctrine. While the far-right National Front grew, taking in particular advantage of a proportional representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

 electoral law, he signed an electoral platform with the Giscardian (and more or less Christian Democrat) party Union for French Democracy
Union for French Democracy
The Union for French Democracy was a French centrist political party. It was founded in 1978 as an electoral alliance to support President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in order to counterbalance the Gaullist preponderance over the right. This name was chosen due to the title of Giscard d'Estaing's...

 (UDF).

First "cohabitation" (1986–1988) and "desert crossing"

When the RPR/UDF right-wing coalition won a slight majority in the National Assembly in the 1986 election
French legislative election, 1986
The French legislative elections took place on 16 March 1986 to elect the 8th National Assembly of the Fifth Republic. Contrary to other legislative elections of the Fifth Republic, the electoral system used was that of Party-list proportional representation.Since the 1981 election of François...

, Mitterrand (PS) appointed Chirac prime minister (though many in Mitterrand's inner circle lobbied him to choose Jacques Chaban-Delmas
Jacques Chaban-Delmas
Jacques Chaban-Delmas was a French Gaullist politician. He served as Prime Minister under Georges Pompidou from 1969 to 1972. In addition, for almost half a century, he was Mayor of Bordeaux and a deputy for the Gironde département....

 instead). This unprecedented power-sharing arrangement, known as cohabitation
Cohabitation (government)
Cohabitation in government occurs in semi-presidential systems, such as France's system, when the President is from a different political party than the majority of the members of parliament. It occurs because such a system forces the president to name a premier that will be acceptable to the...

, 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 second ministry

(20 March 1986 – 12 May 1988)
  • Jacques Chirac – Prime Minister
  • Jean-Bernard Raimond
    Jean-Bernard Raimond
    Jean-Bernard Raimond is a conservative French politician who served as Foreign Minister in the government of Jacques Chirac from 1986 to 1988, as French ambassador to a number of states from the 1970s to the 1990s, and as a deputy in the French National Assembly from 1993 to...

     – Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • André Giraud – Minister of Defence
  • Charles Pasqua
    Charles Pasqua
    Charles Pasqua is a French businessman and Gaullist politician. He was Interior Minister from 1986 to 1988, under Jacques Chirac's cohabitation government, and also from 1993 to 1995, under the government of Edouard Balladur...

     – Minister of the Interior
  • Édouard Balladur
    Édouard Balladur
    Édouard Balladur is a French politician who served as Prime Minister of France from 29 March 1993 to 10 May 1995.-Biography:Balladur was born in İzmir, Turkey, to an Armenian Catholic family with five children and long-standing ties to France...

     – Minister of Economy, Finance, and Privatization
  • Alain Madelin
    Alain Madelin
    Alain Madelin is a French politician and a former minister of that country.Madelin, a strong supporter of laissez-faire economics, was a candidate in the 2002 French presidential election as the leader of the Démocratie Libérale party, where he scored 3.91% on the first round...

     – Minister of Industry, Tourism, Posts, and Telecommunications
  • Philippe Séguin
    Philippe Séguin
    Philippe Séguin was a French political figure who was President of the National Assembly from 1993 to 1997 and President of the Cour des Comptes of France from 2004 to 2010....

     – Minister of Employment and Social Affairs
  • Albin Chalandon
    Albin Chalandon
    Albin Chalandon is a French politician and a former minister.Between 1968 and 1972, he was Minister of Public Works...

     – Minister of Justice
  • René Monory
    René Monory
    René Monory was a French centre-right politician.-Biography:René Monory was born in Loudun and began his career as the owner of a garage. He was the founder of the Poitiers Futuroscope.Monory first became a Senator in 1968...

     – Minister of National Education
  • François Léotard
    François Léotard
    François Gerard Marie Léotard is a retired French politician. The late singer and actor Philippe Léotard was his brother....

     – Minister of Culture and Communications
  • François Guillaume
    François Guillaume
    François Guillaume is a French politician. He was a member of the Rally for the Republic and after then a member of the Union for a Popular Movement. Between 1979 and 1986, he was the president of the Fédération Nationale des Syndicats d'Exploitants d'Agricoles.He was Minister of Agriculture...

     – Minister of Agriculture
  • Bernard Pons
    Bernard Pons
    Bernard Pons was a French politician and medical doctor who was a member of the Union of Democrats for the Republic from 1971 to 1976 and a member of the Rally for the Republic party thereafter...

     – Minister of Overseas Departments and Territories
  • Pierre Méhaignerie
    Pierre Méhaignerie
    Pierre Méhaignerie is a French politician. He is presently deputy of the Ille-et-Vilaine's 5th constituency and mayor of Vitré...

     – Minister of Housing, Equipment, Regional Planning, and Transport
  • André Rossinot
    André Rossinot
    André Rossinot is a French politician. He is a medical doctor specialist in Otolaryngology. He is a member of the Radical Party....

     – Minister of Relations with Parliament
  • Michel Aurillac – Minister of Cooperation


Chirac's cabinet sold a lot of public companies, renewing with the liberalization
Liberalization
In general, liberalization refers to a relaxation of previous government restrictions, usually in areas of social or economic policy. In some contexts this process or concept is often, but not always, referred to as deregulation...

 initiated under Laurent Fabius
Laurent Fabius
Laurent Fabius is a French Socialist politician. He served as Prime Minister from 17 July 1984 to 20 March 1986. He was 37 years old when he was appointed and is, so far, the youngest Prime Minister of the Fifth Republic.-Early life:...

's Socialist government (1984–86 – in particular with Fabius' privatization of the audiovisual sector, leading to the creation of Canal +), and abolished the solidarity tax on wealth
Solidarity tax on wealth
The solidarity tax on wealth is an annual direct wealth tax on those in France having assets in excess of €800,000, . It was one of the Socialist Party's 1981 electoral program's measures, 110 Propositions for France...

 (ISF), a symbolic tax on very high resources decided by Mitterrand's government. Elsewhere, the plan for university reform (plan Devaquet) caused a crisis in 1986 when a young man named Malik Oussekine (1964–1986) was killed by the police, leading to huge demonstrations and the proposal's withdrawal. It has been said during other student crises that this event strongly affected Jacques Chirac, hereafter careful about possible police violence during such demonstrations (i.e. maybe explaining part of the decision to "promulgate without applying" the First Employment Contract
First Employment Contract
The contrat première embauche was a new form of employment contract pushed in spring 2006 in France by Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin...

 (CPE) after large student demonstrations against it).

One of his first acts concerning foreign policies was to call back to affairs Jacques Foccart
Jacques Foccart
Jacques Foccart was a chief adviser for the government of France on African policy as well as the co-founder of the Gaullist Service d'Action Civique in 1959 with Charles Pasqua, which specialized in covert operations in Africa.From 1960 to 1974, he was the President of France's chief of staff...

 (1913–1997), who had been de Gaulle's and his successors' leading counsellor for African matters, called by journalist Stephen Smith
Stephen Smith (journalist)
Stephen Smith is an American anthropologist, biographer, editor, historian, journalist, and writer. He is a former editor of the French daily newspaper Libération and the former deputy editor of the Foreign desk at Le Monde...

 the "father of all "networks" on the continent, at the time [in 1986] aged 72." Jacques Foccart, who had also co-founded the Gaullist Service d'Action Civique
Service d'Action Civique
The SAC , officially created in January 1960, was a Gaullist militia founded by Jacques Foccart, Charles de Gaulle's chief adviser for African matters, and Pierre Debizet, a former Resistant and official director of the group...

(SAC, dissolved by Mitterrand in 1982) along with Charles Pasqua, and who was a key component of the "Françafrique
Françafrique
Françafrique is a term that refers to France's relationship with Africa. The term was first used in a positive sense by President Félix Houphouët-Boigny of Côte d'Ivoire, but it is now generally understood to denounce the neocolonial relationship France has with its African backyard...

" system, was again called to the Elysée Palace when Chirac won the 1995 presidential election. Furthermore, confronted by anti-colonialist movements in New Caledonia
New Caledonia
New Caledonia is a special collectivity of France located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, east of Australia and about from Metropolitan France. The archipelago, part of the Melanesia subregion, includes the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, the Belep archipelago, the Isle of...

, 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
Jean-Marie Le Pen
Jean-Marie Le Pen is a French far right-wing and nationalist politician who is founder and former president of the Front National party. Le Pen has run for the French presidency five times, most notably in 2002, when in a surprise upset he came second, polling more votes in the first round than...

's Front National.

1988 presidential elections and afterwards

Chirac sought the presidency and ran against Mitterrand for a second time in the 1988 election
French presidential election, 1988
Presidential elections were held in France on 24 April and 8 May 1988.In 1981, the Socialist Party leader, François Mitterrand, was elected President of France and the Left won the legislative election. However, in 1986, the Right regained a parliamentary majority. President Mitterrand was forced...

. 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
French legislative election, 1988
French legislative elections took place on 5 June and 12 June 1988 to elect the 9th National Assembly of the Fifth Republic, one month after the re-election of François Mitterrand as President of France....

.

For the first time, his leadership over the RPR was challenged. Charles Pasqua
Charles Pasqua
Charles Pasqua is a French businessman and Gaullist politician. He was Interior Minister from 1986 to 1988, under Jacques Chirac's cohabitation government, and also from 1993 to 1995, under the government of Edouard Balladur...

 and Philippe Séguin
Philippe Séguin
Philippe Séguin was a French political figure who was President of the National Assembly from 1993 to 1997 and President of the Cour des Comptes of France from 2004 to 2010....

 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. In 1992, convinced a man could not became President whilst advocating anti-European policies, he called for a "yes" vote in the referendum on the Maastricht Treaty
Maastricht Treaty
The Maastricht Treaty was signed on 7 February 1992 by the members of the European Community in Maastricht, Netherlands. On 9–10 December 1991, the same city hosted the European Council which drafted the treaty...

, against the opinion of Pasqua, Séguin and a majority of the RPR voters, who chose to vote "no".

While he still was mayor of Paris (since 1977), Chirac went to Abidjan
Abidjan
Abidjan is the economic and former official capital of Côte d'Ivoire, while the current capital is Yamoussoukro. it was the largest city in the nation and the third-largest French-speaking city in the world, after Paris, and Kinshasa but before Montreal...

 (Côte d'Ivoire) where he supported President Houphouët-Boigny
Félix Houphouët-Boigny
Félix Houphouët-Boigny , affectionately called Papa Houphouët or Le Vieux, was the first President of Côte d'Ivoire. Originally a village chief, he worked as a doctor, an administrator of a plantation, and a union leader, before being elected to the French Parliament and serving in a number of...

 (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
French legislative election, 1993
French legislative elections took place on 21 and 28 March 1993 to elect the 10th National Assembly of the Fifth Republic.Since 1988, President François Mitterrand and his Socialist cabinets had relied on a relative parliamentary majority. Without the support of the Communists, Prime minister...

. Chirac announced that he did not want to come back as prime minister, suggesting the appointment of Edouard Balladur
Édouard Balladur
Édouard Balladur is a French politician who served as Prime Minister of France from 29 March 1993 to 10 May 1995.-Biography:Balladur was born in İzmir, Turkey, to an Armenian Catholic family with five children and long-standing ties to France...

, who had promised that he would not run for the presidency against Chirac in 1995. However, benefiting from positive polls, Balladur decided to be a presidential candidate, with the support of a majority of right-wing politicians. Chirac broke at that time with a number of friends and allies, including Charles Pasqua, Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy is the 23rd and current President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra. He assumed the office on 16 May 2007 after defeating the Socialist Party candidate Ségolène Royal 10 days earlier....

, etc., who supported Balladur's candidacy. A small group of "fidels" would remain with him, including Alain Juppé
Alain Juppé
Alain Marie Juppé is a French politician currently serving as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He also served as Prime Minister of France from 1995 to 1997 under President Jacques Chirac and the Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs from 2010 to 2011...

 and Jean-Louis Debré
Jean-Louis Debré
Jean-Louis Debré is a conservative French political figure. He was President of the National Assembly of France from 2002 to 2007 and has been President of the Constitutional Council since 2007.-Biography:Debré was born in Toulouse...

. When Nicolas Sarkozy became President in 2007, Juppé was one of the few "chiraquiens" to serve in François Fillon's government.

First term as President (1995–2002)

During the 1995 presidential campaign
French presidential election, 1995
Presidential elections took place in France on 23 April and 7 May 1995, to elect the fifth president of the Fifth Republic.The incumbent Socialist president, François Mitterrand, did not stand for a third term. He was 78, had cancer, and his party had lost the previous legislative election in a...

, Chirac criticised the "sole thought" (pensée unique
Pensée unique
The expression "pensée unique" describes the claimed supremacy of neoliberalism as an ideology.-Concept and background understanding:...

) of neoliberalism
Neoliberalism
Neoliberalism is a market-driven approach to economic and social policy based on neoclassical theories of economics that emphasizes the efficiency of private enterprise, liberalized trade and relatively open markets, and therefore seeks to maximize the role of the private sector in determining the...

 represented by his challenger on the right and promised to reduce the "social fracture", placing himself more to the center and thus forcing Balladur to radicalise
Political radicalism
The term political radicalism denotes political principles focused on altering social structures through revolutionary means and changing value systems in fundamental ways...

 himself. Ultimately, he obtained more votes than Balladur in the first round (20.8 percent), and then defeated the Socialist
Socialist Party (France)
The Socialist Party is a social-democratic political party in France and the largest party of the French centre-left. It is one of the two major contemporary political parties in France, along with the center-right Union for a Popular Movement...

 candidate Lionel Jospin
Lionel Jospin
Lionel Jospin is a French politician, who served as Prime Minister of France from 1997 to 2002.Jospin was the Socialist Party candidate for President of France in the elections of 1995 and 2002. He was narrowly defeated in the final runoff election by Jacques Chirac in 1995...

 in the second round (52.6 percent).

Chirac was elected on a platform of tax cuts and job programs, but his policies did little to ease the labor 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
Alain Juppé
Alain Marie Juppé is a French politician currently serving as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He also served as Prime Minister of France from 1995 to 1997 under President Jacques Chirac and the Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs from 2010 to 2011...

, 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. At the year's end Chirac faced major workers' strikes
1995 strikes in France
The 1995 strikes in France were a series of general strikes in France, mostly in the public sector in late 1995. The strikes received great popular support despite paralyzing the country's transportation infrastructure...

 which turned itself, in November–December 1995, into a general strike
General strike
A general strike is a strike action by a critical mass of the labour force in a city, region, or country. While a general strike can be for political goals, economic goals, or both, it tends to gain its momentum from the ideological or class sympathies of the participants...

, one of the largest since May 1968. The demonstrations were largely pitted against Juppé's plan on the reform of pensions, and led to the dismissal of the latter.

Shortly after taking office, Chirac undaunted by international protests by environmental groups insisted upon the resumption of nuclear tests at Mururoa Atoll in French Polynesia
French Polynesia
French Polynesia is an overseas country of the French Republic . It is made up of several groups of Polynesian islands, the most famous island being Tahiti in the Society Islands group, which is also the most populous island and the seat of the capital of the territory...

 in 1995, a few months before signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty bans all nuclear explosions in all environments, for military or civilian purposes. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996 but it has not entered into force.-Status:...

. 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." 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.

Elected as President of the Republic, he refused to discuss the existence of French military bases in Africa, despite requests by the Ministry of Defense and the Quai d'Orsay
Quai d'Orsay
The Quai d'Orsay is a quai in the VIIe arrondissement of Paris, part of the left bank of the Seine, and the name of the street along it. The Quai becomes the Quai Anatole France east of the Palais Bourbon, and the Quai de Branly west of the Pont de l'Alma.The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs is...

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs). The French Army thus remained in Côte d'Ivoire as well as in Omar Bongo
Omar Bongo
El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba , born as Albert-Bernard Bongo, was a Gabonese politician who was President of Gabon for 42 years from 1967 until his death in office in 2009....

's Gabon
Gabon
Gabon , officially the Gabonese Republic is a state in west central Africa sharing borders with Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, and with the Republic of the Congo curving around the east and south. The Gulf of Guinea, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean is to the west...

.
In 1997, Chirac dissolved parliament for early legislative elections in a gamble designed to bolster support for his conservative economic program. 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
Constitutional convention (political custom)
A constitutional convention is an informal and uncodified procedural agreement that is followed by the institutions of a state. In some states, notably those Commonwealth of Nations states that follow the Westminster system and whose political systems derive from British constitutional law, most...

, 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
Corruption scandals in the Paris region
In the 1980s and 1990s there were, in the Paris region , multiple instances of alleged and proved political corruption cases, as well as cases of abuse of public money and resources...

. In 2001, the left, represented by Bertrand Delanoë
Bertrand Delanoë
Bertrand Delanoë is a French politician, and has been the mayor of Paris since 2001. He is member of the Socialist Party . Delanoë was born in Tunis, Tunisia to a French-Tunisian father and a French mother...

 (PS), won over the majority in the town council of the capital. Jean Tiberi
Jean Tiberi
Jean Tiberi is a French politician who was mayor of Paris from May 22, 1995 to March 24, 2001. , he is mayor of the 5th arrondissement of Paris and deputy to the French National Assembly from the second district of Paris....

, 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
Influence peddling
Influence peddling is the illegal practice of using one's influence in government or connections with persons in authority to obtain favors or preferential treatment for another, usually in return for payment. Also called traffic of influence or trading in influence ...

in the HLM
HLM
HLM , French for "housing at moderated rents" or "rent-controlled housing", is a form of subsidised housing in France. There are approximately four million such residences, housing an estimated 12 million people — nearly one-fifth of the population of France...

s of Paris affairs (related to the illegal financing of the RPR). Tiberi was finally expelled from the RPR
Rally for the Republic
The Rally for the Republic , was a French right-wing political party. Originating from the Union of Democrats for the Republic , it was founded by Jacques Chirac in 1976 and presented itself as the heir of Gaullism...

, Chirac's party, on 12 October 2000, declaring to the Figaro magazine
Le Figaro
Le Figaro is a French daily newspaper founded in 1826 and published in Paris. It is one of three French newspapers of record, with Le Monde and Libération, and is the oldest newspaper in France. It is also the second-largest national newspaper in France after Le Parisien and before Le Monde, but...

on 18 November 2000: "Jacques Chirac is not my friend anymore". After the publication of the Méry video-tape by Le Monde
Le Monde
Le Monde is a French daily evening newspaper owned by La Vie-Le Monde Group and edited in Paris. It is one of two French newspapers of record, and has generally been well respected since its first edition under founder Hubert Beuve-Méry on 19 December 1944...

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 millions Franc
Franc
The franc is the name of several currency units, most notably the Swiss franc, still a major world currency today due to the prominence of Swiss financial institutions and the former currency of France, the French franc until the Euro was adopted in 1999...

s, which came from companies who had benefited from state deals, to Michel Roussin
Michel Roussin
Michel Roussin was the chief of staff of Alexandre de Marenches, who directed the SDECE French secret service until the May 1981 election of François Mitterrand as President of France...

, personal secretary (directeur de cabinet) of Chirac, Chirac refused to follow up his summons by judge Eric Halphen
Éric Halphen
Éric Halphen is a French judge best known as the investigating magistrate in the Parisian low-cost housing scandals of the 1990s.- Timeline :...

, 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 (currently €90 million, whereas 20 years ago it was the equivalent of €43.7 million). He doubled the number of presidential cars – nowadays there are 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.

Defense policy

As the Supreme Commander of the French armed forces, he has reduced the French military budget, as did his predecessor. It now accounts for three percent of GDP. In 1998 the French aircraft carrier Clemenceau (R98) was decommissioned after 37 years of service, and another aircraft carrier was decommissioned two years later after 37 years of service, leaving the French Navy with no aircraft carrier until 2001, when Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier
Charles de Gaulle (R 91)
Charles de Gaulle is the flagship of the French Navy and the largest Western European aircraft carrier. She is the tenth French aircraft carrier, the first French nuclear-powered surface vessel, and the first and so far only nuclear-powered carrier completed outside of the United States Navy...

 was commissioned. He has also reduced expenditures on nuclear weapons and the French nuclear arsenal now includes 350 warheads, which can be compared to the Russian nuclear arsenal that consists of 16,000 warheads. He has also published a plan which assumes reducing the number of fighters the French military has by 30.

Second term as president (2002–2007)

At the age of 69, Chirac faced his fourth presidential campaign in 2002. He received just 20% of the vote in the first ballot of the presidential elections in April 2002. It had been expected that he would face incumbent prime minister Lionel Jospin
Lionel Jospin
Lionel Jospin is a French politician, who served as Prime Minister of France from 1997 to 2002.Jospin was the Socialist Party candidate for President of France in the elections of 1995 and 2002. He was narrowly defeated in the final runoff election by Jacques Chirac in 1995...

 (PS) in the second round of elections; instead, Chirac faced controversial far right politician Jean-Marie Le Pen
Jean-Marie Le Pen
Jean-Marie Le Pen is a French far right-wing and nationalist politician who is founder and former president of the Front National party. Le Pen has run for the French presidency five times, most notably in 2002, when in a surprise upset he came second, polling more votes in the first round than...

 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 favorably and 63 percent unfavorably. In 2006, The Economist
The Economist
The Economist is an English-language weekly news and international affairs publication owned by The Economist Newspaper Ltd. and edited in offices in the City of Westminster, London, England. Continuous publication began under founder James Wilson in September 1843...

wrote that Chirac "is the most unpopular occupant of the Elysée Palace in the fifth republic's history."

Early term

As the left-wing Socialist Party was in thorough disarray following Jospin's defeat, Chirac reorganised politics on the right, establishing a new party – initially called the Union of the Presidential Majority, then the Union for a Popular Movement
Union for a Popular Movement
The Union for a Popular Movement is a centre-right political party in France, and one of the two major contemporary political parties in the country along with the center-left Socialist Party...

 (UMP). The RPR had broken down; A number of members had formed Eurosceptic
EuroSceptic
EuroSceptic is the second album of British singer Jack Lucien. It was released in October 2009.Due to being an album influenced by Europop, it features songs with parts in different languages...

 breakaways. While the Giscardian liberals of the Union of French Democracy (UDF
Union for French Democracy
The Union for French Democracy was a French centrist political party. It was founded in 1978 as an electoral alliance to support President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in order to counterbalance the Gaullist preponderance over the right. This name was chosen due to the title of Giscard d'Estaing's...

) had moved to the right. The UMP won the parliamentary elections
French legislative election, 2002
-12th Assembly by Parliamentary Group:...

 that followed the presidential poll with ease.

During an official visit to Madagascar
Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

 on 21 July 2005, Chirac described the repression of the 1947 Malagasy uprising, which left between 80,000 and 90,000 dead, as "unacceptable".

Despite past opposition to state intervention the Chirac government approved a 2.8 billion euro aid package to troubled manufacturing giant Alstom
Alstom
Alstom is a large multinational conglomerate which holds interests in the power generation and transport markets. According to the company website, in the years 2010-2011 Alstom had annual sales of over €20.9 billion, and employed more than 85,000 people in 70 countries. Alstom's headquarters are...

. In October 2004, Chirac signed a trade agreement with PRC President Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao is the current Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China. He has held the titles of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China since 2002, President of the People's Republic of China since 2003, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission since 2004, succeeding Jiang...

 where Alstom was given one billion euro in contracts and promises of future investment in China.

Assassination attempt

On 14 July 2002, during Bastille Day
Bastille Day
Bastille Day is the name given in English-speaking countries to the French National Day, which is celebrated on 14 July of each year. In France, it is formally called La Fête Nationale and commonly le quatorze juillet...

 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 toward the presidential motorcade
Motorcade
A motorcade is a procession of vehicles. The term motorcade was coined by Lyle Abbot , and is formed after cavalcade on the false notion that "-cade" was a suffix meaning "procession"...

, before being overpowered by bystanders. The gunman, Maxime Brunerie
Maxime Brunerie
Maxime Brunerie is a man who attempted to assassinate French President Jacques Chirac on July 14, 2002 in Paris, during the Bastille Day parade on the Champs-Élysées....

, underwent psychiatric testing; the violent far-right group with which he was associated, Unité Radicale
Unité Radicale
Unité Radicale was a French far-right political group close to the Third Position and National Bolshevism thesis. It was founded in June 1998 from the merger of Groupe Union Défense and Nouvelle Résistance/Jeune Résistance/Union des Cercles Résistance, issued from Nouvelle Résistance, and dissolved...

, was then administratively dissolved.

Stroke

In early September 2005, he suffered an event that his doctors described as a 'vascular incident'. It was reported as a 'minor stroke' or a mini-stroke (also known as a Transient ischemic attack
Transient ischemic attack
A transient ischemic attack is a transient episode of neurologic dysfunction caused by ischemia – either focal brain, spinal cord or retinal – without acute infarction...

). He recovered and returned to his duties soon after.

2005 referendum on the TCE

On 29 May 2005, a referendum
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

 was held in France to decide whether the country should ratify the proposed treaty for a Constitution of the European Union (TCE). The result was a victory for the No campaign, with 55 percent of voters rejecting the treaty on a turnout of 69 percent, dealing a devastating blow to Chirac and the UMP
Union for a Popular Movement
The Union for a Popular Movement is a centre-right political party in France, and one of the two major contemporary political parties in the country along with the center-left Socialist Party...

 party, as well as to part of the center-left which had supported the TCE.

Foreign policy

Along with Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

 (Chirac called Vladimir Putin "a personal friend".), Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao is the current Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China. He has held the titles of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China since 2002, President of the People's Republic of China since 2003, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission since 2004, succeeding Jiang...

, and Gerhard Schröder
Gerhard Schröder
Gerhard Fritz Kurt Schröder is a German politician, and was Chancellor of Germany from 1998 to 2005. A member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany , he led a coalition government of the SPD and the Greens. Before becoming a full-time politician, he was a lawyer, and before becoming Chancellor...

, Chirac emerged as a leading voice against the Bush administration's conduct towards Iraq. 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
Weapons of mass destruction
A weapon of mass destruction is a weapon that can kill and bring significant harm to a large number of humans and/or cause great damage to man-made structures , natural structures , or the biosphere in general...

, 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. Chirac was then the target of various American and British commentators supporting the decisions of Bush and Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

. Future Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin
Dominique de Villepin
Dominique Marie François René Galouzeau de Villepin is a French politician who served as the Prime Minister of France from 31 May 2005 to 17 May 2007....

 acquired much of his popularity for his speech against the war at the United Nations (UN). However, following controversies concerning the CIA's black sites and extraordinary rendition program, the press revealed that French special services had cooperated with Washington
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 at the same time that Villepin was countering US foreign policy at the UN headquarters in New York.

After Togo
Togo
Togo, officially the Togolese Republic , is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, on which the capital Lomé is located. Togo covers an area of approximately with a population of approximately...

's leader Gnassingbé Eyadéma
Gnassingbé Eyadéma
General Gnassingbé Eyadéma , was the President of Togo from 1967 until his death in 2005. He participated in two successful military coups, in January 1963 and January 1967, and became President on April 14, 1967...

's death on 5 February 2005, Chirac gave him tribute and supported his son, Faure Gnassingbé
Faure Gnassingbé
Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé has been the President of Togo since May 4, 2005. A son of President Gnassingbé Eyadéma, he was appointed to the government by his father, serving as Minister of Equipment, Mines, Posts, and Telecommunications from 2003 to 2005...

, who has since succeeded to his father.

On 19 January 2006, Chirac said that France was prepared to launch a nuclear strike
Nuclear warfare
Nuclear warfare, or atomic warfare, is a military conflict or political strategy in which nuclear weaponry is detonated on an opponent. Compared to conventional warfare, nuclear warfare can be vastly more destructive in range and extent of damage...

 against any country that sponsors a terrorist attack against French interests. He said his country's nuclear arsenal
Force de frappe
The Force de Frappe is the designation of what used to be a triad of air-, sea- and land-based nuclear weapons intended for dissuasion, and consequential deterrence...

 had been reconfigured to include the ability to make a tactical strike in retaliation for terrorism.

In July 2006, the G8
G8
The Group of Eight is a forum, created by France in 1975, for the governments of seven major economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1997, the group added Russia, thus becoming the G8...

 met to discuss international energy concerns. Despite the rising awareness of global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 issues, the G8 focuses on "energy security
Energy security
Energy security is a term for an association between national security and the availability of natural resources for energy consumption. Access to cheap energy has become essential to the functioning of modern economies. However, the uneven distribution of energy supplies among countries has led...

" issues. Chirac continues to be the voice within the G8 summit meetings to support international action to curb global warming and climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

 concerns. Chirac warns that "humanity is dancing on a volcano
Volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

" and calls for serious action by the world's leading industrialised nations.

2005 civil unrest and CPE protests

Following major student protests in spring 2006
2006 labour protests in France
The 2006 youth protests in France occurred throughout France during February, March, and April 2006 as a result of opposition to a measure set to deregulate labour...

, which followed civil unrest
2005 civil unrest in France
The 2005 civil unrest in France of October and November was a series of riots by mostly Muslim North African youths in Paris and other French cities, involving mainly the burning of cars and public buildings at night starting on 27 October 2005 in Clichy-sous-Bois...

 in autumn 2005 after the death of two young boys in Clichy-sous-Bois
Clichy-sous-Bois
Clichy-sous-Bois is a commune in the eastern suburbs of Paris, France. The vast majority of its population is made up of Muslims of North African heritage . It is located from the centre of Paris.-Geography:The commune has an area of with of woods...

, one of the poorest French commune located in Paris' suburbs, Chirac retracted the proposed First Employment Contract
First Employment Contract
The contrat première embauche was a new form of employment contract pushed in spring 2006 in France by Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin...

 (CPE) by "promulgating [it] without applying it", an unheard-of – and, some claim, illegal – move destined to appease the protests while giving the appearance not to retract himself, and therefore to continue his support towards his Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin
Dominique de Villepin
Dominique Marie François René Galouzeau de Villepin is a French politician who served as the Prime Minister of France from 31 May 2005 to 17 May 2007....

.

Flight Tax

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
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 (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
Unitaid
UNITAID is an international facility for the purchase of drugs against HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis. It was founded in September 2006 on the initiative of Brazil and France, and is to a great part financed by so called innovative development financing mechanisms, namely a solidarity levy on...

 project was born. Today the organization executive board is chaired by Philippe Douste-Blazy
Philippe Douste-Blazy
Philippe Douste-Blazy is a French centre-right politician. He served as Minister for Health , Minister of Culture and Foreign Minister in the cabinet of Dominique de Villepin .Douste-Blazy is also a cardiologist and Christian Democrat politician from Lourdes...

.

The Clearstream affair

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
Philippe Rondot
Philippe Rondot is a French retired general, formerly an important personality of the French intelligence. He worked for both the domestic intelligence DST and the foreign intelligence DGSE and was councilor to several Defence ministers .-Career:Philippe Rondot was born in 1936 in a family of...

, a top level French spy
Espionage
Espionage or spying involves an individual obtaining information that is considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information. Espionage is inherently clandestine, lest the legitimate holder of the information change plans or take other countermeasures once it...

, for a secret investigation into the latter's chief political rival, Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy is the 23rd and current President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra. He assumed the office on 16 May 2007 after defeating the Socialist Party candidate Ségolène Royal 10 days earlier....

, in 2004. This matter has been called the second Clearstream Affair
Clearstream affair
The "Clearstream affair" was a political scandal in France in the run-up to the 2007 presidential election.The name refers to the Luxembourg bank Clearstream Banking S.A., now wholly owned by Deutsche Börse, which was alleged to have aided many prominent French politicians and companies evade taxes...

. 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. Chirac said that "The Republic is not a dictatorship of rumors, a dictatorship of calumny."

Announcement of intention not to seek a third term

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. 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
Jean-Marie Le Pen
Jean-Marie Le Pen is a French far right-wing and nationalist politician who is founder and former president of the Front National party. Le Pen has run for the French presidency five times, most notably in 2002, when in a surprise upset he came second, polling more votes in the first round than...

 and a recommendation to Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy is the 23rd and current President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra. He assumed the office on 16 May 2007 after defeating the Socialist Party candidate Ségolène Royal 10 days earlier....

 not to orient his campaign so as to include themes traditionally associated with Le Pen.

Controversy over hijab

French President Jacques Chirac declared his complete rejection of the wearing of the Islamic headscarf, or hijab, by female Muslims in French schools and public corporations. He adds that he perceives a kind of hostility in the wearing of the hijab. Chirac stated that with banning the hijab, there will be more integration in French society. He has contributed in establishing a law that prohibits wearing the hijab and other religious symbols and manifestations in schools and public corporations. This has created a great controversy in France as some Muslims believe they are being discriminated against.

Life after presidency

Shortly after leaving office, he founded the Jacques Chirac Foundation for Sustainable Development and Cultural Dialogue
Jacques Chirac Foundation for Sustainable Development and Cultural Dialogue
The Jacques Chirac Foundation for Sustainable Development and Cultural Dialogue was founded by former French President Jacques Chirac...

.

After his presidency ended, Chirac became a lifetime member of the Constitutional Council of France
Constitutional Council of France
The Constitutional Council is the highest constitutional authority in France. It was established by the Constitution of the Fifth Republic on 4 October 1958, and its duty is to ensure that the principles and rules of the constitution are upheld.Its main activity is to rule on whether proposed...

. He sat for the first time in the Council on 15 November 2007, six months after leaving the French Presidency. 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
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 Prime Minister Rafik Hariri
Rafik Hariri
Rafic Baha El Deen Al-Hariri , was a business tycoon and the Prime Minister of Lebanon from 1992 to 1998 and again from 2000 until his resignation, 20 October 2004.He headed five cabinets during his tenure...

. During the Didier Schuller affair, the latter accused Hariri of having participated to the illegal funding of the RPR
Rally for the Republic
The Rally for the Republic , was a French right-wing political party. Originating from the Union of Democrats for the Republic , it was founded by Jacques Chirac in 1976 and presented itself as the heir of Gaullism...

's political campaigns, but the justice closed the case without further investigations.

On 11 April 2008, Chirac's office announced that he had undergone successful surgery to fit a pacemaker
Pacemaker
An artificial pacemaker is a medical device that uses electrical impulses to regulate the beating of the heart.Pacemaker may also refer to:-Medicine:...

. In January 2009, it was reported that Chirac had been hospitalized after being attacked by his pet Maltese poodle. According to Chirac's wife Bernadette, the dog, named Sumo, had a history of unpredictable and vicious behavior, and had previously been medicated with antidepressants in an attempt to control it.

Embezzlement trial

On 7 March 2011, he went on trial for charges of corruption, the first former French head of state to stand trial since Philippe Petain
Philippe Pétain
Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain , generally known as Philippe Pétain or Marshal Pétain , was a French general who reached the distinction of Marshal of France, and was later Chief of State of Vichy France , from 1940 to 1944...

, involving the misuse of public money during his time as mayor of Paris. He was accused of paying cronies and political allies for 28 jobs that did not exist. Along with Chirac, nine other people were also to stand trial, as two separate cases were involved, one dealing with jobs for 21 people and the other with jobs for the remaining seven.

It is possible, however, that the trial could be delayed for up to six months; on 8 March the presiding judge is scheduled to determine whether the charges breach France's statute of limitations regarding financial matters such as those Chirac was charged with. If it is determined that the case does breach these limitations, it would be referred to the Constitutional Council of France
Constitutional Council of France
The Constitutional Council is the highest constitutional authority in France. It was established by the Constitution of the Fifth Republic on 4 October 1958, and its duty is to ensure that the principles and rules of the constitution are upheld.Its main activity is to rule on whether proposed...

.

As a former President, he is entitled to a lifetime pension and personal security protection.

Memoirs and popularity

In Volume 2 of his memoirs published in June 2011, Chirac mocked his successor Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy is the 23rd and current President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra. He assumed the office on 16 May 2007 after defeating the Socialist Party candidate Ségolène Royal 10 days earlier....

 as a "irritable, rash, impetuous, disloyal, ungrateful, and un-French". 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.

Impact on French popular culture

Because of Jacques Chirac's long career in visible government position, he has often been parodied or caricatured: Young Jacques Chirac is the basis of a young, dashing bureaucrat character in the Asterix
Asterix
Asterix or The Adventures of Asterix is a series of French comic books written by René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo . The series first appeared in French in the magazine Pilote on October 29, 1959...

 comic strip album Obelix and Co.
Obelix and Co.
Obelix and Co. is the twenty-third volume of the Asterix comic book series, by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo . The book's main focus is on the attempts by the Gaul-occupying Romans to corrupt the one remaining village that still holds out against them by instilling capitalism.-Plot...

, proposing methods to quell Gallic unrest to elderly, old-style Roman politicians. Chirac was also featured in Le Bêbête Show
Le Bébête Show
Le Bébête Show was a satirical puppet show shown on French television. The show was introduced in Stéphane Collaro's Collaroshow on channel TF1, before becoming a daily broadcast. Major French political figures were designed by artists: Alain Duverne, Jacques Loup, Jean-Yves Grall.....

as an overexcited, jumpy character.

Jacques Chirac is one favorite character of Les Guignols de l'Info
Les Guignols de l'info
Les Guignols de l'info is a satirical latex puppet show broadcast on Canal+, a French subscription-based television channel. Hosted by a puppet facsimile of TF1 news anchor Patrick Poivre d'Arvor, Les Guignols is similar to the 1984–1996 British show Spitting Image...

, a satiric latex puppet show. He was once portrayed as a rather likeable, 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
Superhero
A superhero is a type of stock character, possessing "extraordinary or superhuman powers", dedicated to protecting the public. Since the debut of the prototypical superhero Superman in 1938, stories of superheroes — ranging from brief episodic adventures to continuing years-long sagas —...

 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
Les Wampas
Les Wampas are a French punk rock/psychobilly band, who refer more exactly to their music as "Yé-yé-punk". The band was formed in Paris in 1983.-Les Wampas vous aiment:...

, with a video clip made by the Guignols.

Portrayals in film

His role is played by Charles Fathy in the Oliver Stone
Oliver Stone
William Oliver Stone is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. Stone became well known in the late 1980s and the early 1990s for directing a series of films about the Vietnam War, for which he had previously participated as an infantry soldier. His work frequently focuses on...

 film W.
W. (film)
W. is a 2008 American film based on the life and presidency of George W. Bush. It was produced and directed by Oliver Stone, written by Stanley Weiser, and stars Josh Brolin as Bush, with a cast that includes Ellen Burstyn, Elizabeth Banks, James Cromwell, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Scott...


Political career

President of the French Republic : 1995–2007. Reelected in 2002.

Member of the Constitutional Council of France
Constitutional Council of France
The Constitutional Council is the highest constitutional authority in France. It was established by the Constitution of the Fifth Republic on 4 October 1958, and its duty is to ensure that the principles and rules of the constitution are upheld.Its main activity is to rule on whether proposed...

 : Since 2007.

Governmental functions

Prime minister : 1974–1976 (Resignation) / 1986–1988.

Minister of Interior : March–May 1974.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development : 1972–1974.

Minister of Relation with Parliament : 1971–1972.

Secretary of State for Economy and Finance : 1968–1971.

Secretary of State for Social Affairs : 1967–1968.

Electoral mandates

European Parliament

Member of European Parliament
European Parliament
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

 : 1979–1980 (Resignation). Elected in 1979.

National Assembly of France

Member of the National Assembly of France for Corrèze
Corrèze
Corrèze is a department in south central France, named after the Corrèze River.The inhabitants of the department are called Corréziens or Corréziennes according to gender.-History:...

 : March–April 1967 (Became Secretary of State in April 1967) Reelected in 1968, 1973, but he stays minister / 1976–1986 (Became Prime minister in 1986) / 1988–1995 (Resignation, became President of the French Republic in 1995). Elected in 1967, reelected in 1968, 1973, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1988, 1993.

General Council

President of the General Council of Corrèze : 1970–1979. Reelected in 1973, 1976.

General councillor of Corrèze : 1968–1988. Reelected in 1970, 1976, 1982.

Municipal Council

Mayor of Paris : 1977–1995 (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
Sainte-Féréole
Sainte-Féréole is a commune in the Corrèze department in central France.-Population:-References:*...

 : 1965–1977. Reelected in 1971.

Political function

President of the Rally for the Republic
Rally for the Republic
The Rally for the Republic , was a French right-wing political party. Originating from the Union of Democrats for the Republic , it was founded by Jacques Chirac in 1976 and presented itself as the heir of Gaullism...

 : 1976–1994 (Resignation).

Honours

  • Grand Cross of the Ordre de la Légion d'Honneur
    Légion d'honneur
    The Legion of Honour, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honour is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the Consulat which succeeded to the First Republic, on 19 May 1802...

  • Grand Cross of the Ordre National du Mérite
    Ordre National du Mérite
    The Ordre national du Mérite is an Order of State awarded by the President of the French Republic. It was founded on 3 December 1963 by President Charles de Gaulle...

  • Croix de la Valeur Militaire
    Croix de la Valeur Militaire
    The Croix de la Valeur Militaire is a military decoration of France that recognizes individual holding a mention in Dispatches earned in theaters of operations which are not subject to the award of the Croix de guerre....

  • Médaille de l'Aéronautique
    Médaille de l'Aéronautique
    The Médaille de l'Aéronautique is an order of merit created on 14 February 1945.-History:Before the Second World War, it was envisioned to create an award similar to the Order of Maritime Merit, an Order of Merit, Air, intended for personal civil and military aeronautics. But the war put an end to...

  • Chevalier of the Mérite agricole
    Mérite agricole
    The Ordre National du Mérite Agricole is an order of merit established in France on 7 July 1883 by Minister of Agriculture Jules Méline to reward services to agriculture...

  • Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters
    Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
    The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres is an Order of France, established on 2 May 1957 by the Minister of Culture, and confirmed as part of the Ordre national du Mérite by President Charles de Gaulle in 1963...

  • Knight of the Ordre de l'étoile Noire (Bénin
    Benin
    Benin , officially the Republic of Benin, is a country in West Africa. It borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. Its small southern coastline on the Bight of Benin is where a majority of the population is located...

    ) (French Colonial Order)
  • Knight of the Mérite Sportif
  • Grand Cross of the Order pro merito Militensis
    Order pro merito Melitensi
    The Order of Merit pro Merito Melitensi of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta is a knightly order of merit established in 1920. It is awarded to men and women who have brought honour and prestige to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta or actively promoted Christian values or works of charity...

  • Officier of the Ordre national du Québec
  • Condor de oro
  • Grand Cross of the Order of St. Olav (2000)
  • Order of Merit for the Fatherland
    Order of Merit for the Fatherland
    The Order of Merit for the Fatherland was instituted on 2 March 1994 by Presidential Decree. The statutes describe it as a decoration for merit, not an order of knights....

    , 1st class (Russia, 23 September 1997) - for his great personal contribution to the development of cooperation and friendship between the peoples of Russia and France
  • Medal "In memory of the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg"
  • State Prize of the Russian Federation
    State Prize of the Russian Federation
    State Prize of the Russian Federation is a state honorary prize established in 1992 as the substitute for the USSR State Prize. In 2004 the rules for selection of laureates and the status of the award was significantly changed making them closer to such awards as Nobel Prize or the Soviet Lenin...

     (2007) - for outstanding achievements in the humanitarian field
  • Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
    Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
    The Order of Merit of the Italian Republic was founded as the senior order of knighthood by the second President of the Italian Republic, Luigi Einaudi in 1951...

  • Grand Collar of the Order of Prince Henry (Portugal, 1999)
  • Great Star of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria
    Decoration for Services to the Republic of Austria
    The Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria is a state decoration of the Republic of Austria...

  • Collar of the Order of the White Lion
    Order of the White Lion
    The Order of the White Lion is the highest order of the Czech Republic. It continues a Czechoslovak order of the same name created in 1922 as an award for foreigners....

     (Czech Republic, 1997)
  • Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of the Star of Romania
    Order of the Star of Romania
    The Order of the Star of Romania is Romania's highest civil order. It is awarded by the President of Romania...

     (1998)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Vytautas the Great
    Order of Vytautas the Great
    The Order of Vytautas the Great is the Lithuanian Presidential Award. It may be conferred on the heads of Lithuania and foreign states, as well as their citizens, for distinguished services to the State of Lithuania.-History:...

     (Lithuania, 1997)
  • Knight of the Order of the Bath
    Order of the Bath
    The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath...

     (UK)
  • Heydar Aliyev Order
    Heydar Aliyev Order
    Heydar Aliyev Order , is an Azerbaijani award presented by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan....

     (Azerbaijan)
  • Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas
    Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas
    The Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas is the Lithuanian Presidential Award which was re-instituted to honour the citizens of Lithuania for outstanding performance in civil and public offices. Foreign nationals may also be awarded this Order. The Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke...

     (24 July 2001)
  • Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Three Stars
    Order of the Three Stars
    Order of the Three Stars is order awarded for merits in service for Latvia. It was established in 1924 in remembrance of founding of Latvia. Its motto is "Per aspera ad astra"...

     (Latvia)
  • Ig Nobel prize
    Ig Nobel Prize
    The Ig Nobel Prizes are an American parody of the Nobel Prizes and are given each year in early October for ten unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research. The stated aim of the prizes is to "first make people laugh, and then make them think"...

     for peace, for commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Hiroshima with atomic bomb tests in the Pacific (1996)

Titles from birth to currently

  • Monsieur le Président de la République française (1995–2007)
  • His Excellency The Sovereign Co-Prince of Andorra (1995–2007)

See also

  • Anh Dao Traxel
    Anh Dao Traxel
    Anh Dao Traxel is the foster daughter of former French President Jacques Chirac. She was a boat people refugee, and met Jacques Chirac at Roissy Airport in 1979. He told her "Don’t cry, ma chérie. You are coming home with us" and took her home...

  • List of national leaders
  • Politics of France
    Politics of France
    France is a semi-presidential representative democratic republic, in which the President of France is head of state and the Prime Minister of France is the head of government, and there is a pluriform, multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is...

  • French presidential election, 1981
    French presidential election, 1981
    The French presidential election of 1981 took place on 10 May 1981, giving the presidency of France to François Mitterrand, the first Socialist president of the Fifth Republic....

  • French presidential election, 1988
    French presidential election, 1988
    Presidential elections were held in France on 24 April and 8 May 1988.In 1981, the Socialist Party leader, François Mitterrand, was elected President of France and the Left won the legislative election. However, in 1986, the Right regained a parliamentary majority. President Mitterrand was forced...

  • French presidential election, 1995
    French presidential election, 1995
    Presidential elections took place in France on 23 April and 7 May 1995, to elect the fifth president of the Fifth Republic.The incumbent Socialist president, François Mitterrand, did not stand for a third term. He was 78, had cancer, and his party had lost the previous legislative election in a...

  • French presidential election, 2002
    French presidential election, 2002
    The 2002 French presidential election consisted of a first round election on 21 April 2002, and a runoff election between the top two candidates on 5 May 2002. This presidential contest attracted a greater than usual amount of international attention because of Le Pen's unexpected appearance in...

  • French presidential election, 2007
    French presidential election, 2007
    The 2007 French presidential election, the ninth of the Fifth French Republic was held to elect the successor to Jacques Chirac as president of France for a five-year term.The winner, decided on 5 and 6 May 2007, was Nicolas Sarkozy...

  • Musée du Président Jacques Chirac
    Musée du Président Jacques Chirac
    The musée du Président Jacques Chirac , commonly known as musée du Septennat. It's a museum located in Sarran, in the French departement of Corrèze, in the Massif central, 30 km northeast of the city of Tulle. It houses the collection of objects offered to Jacques Chirac during his...


External links


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