Jacques Chirac Biography and Profile

Born in Paris, Jacques Chira, the son of a property administrator; his family is from Corrèze. His two grandfathers are teachers and radical socialists. A student at Louis-le-Grand, he developed a passion that was never denied to ancient and / or Asian civilizations. Integrating the Institute of Political Studies of Paris, he attended the circles of left, including his classmate Michel Rocard. He then enrolled at Harvard University’s Summer School, and began a hitchhiking tour of the United States.

Barely failing to be the major of his class at Sciences-Po, admitted to the Ena, he decided to perform before his military obligations. Major of his promotion of students reserve officers at the School of Saumur, he asks to serve in Algeria. Promotion Vauban (1959) of the Ena, he was appointed auditor at the Court of Auditors at its release.

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In 1962, he joined the cabinet of Georges Pompidou, then Prime Minister. He was in charge of mission at the General Secretariat of the Government then in charge of mission in the cabinet of Prime Minister Georges Pompidou. The latter appreciates the energetic temperament of the one he affectionately nicknamed “my bulldozer”. Jacques Chirac was then a referendum adviser at the Court of Auditors from March 1965 to March 1977. At age 35, he was elected to the Parliament of Corrèze in 1967, but he only sat for two months in the National Assembly, because he began a long ministerial career.

After the death of Georges Pompidou, he pushed Pierre Messmer to be the Gaullist candidate in the presidential election. Finally, he chose Valéry Giscard d’Estaing against Jacques Chaban-Delmas.

Jacques Chirac Full Biography and Profile

Jacques Chirac, born November 29, 1932, Paris, was a lifelong French politician and one of the most charismatic figures of twentieth century politics. The only child of a well-to-do businessman, Chirac apparently had a lively youth. Dapper and tall with charm to spare, French President Jacques Chirac is a well-bred bon vivant who enjoys such trappings of power as luxury voyages abroad or life in a government-owned palace. One of the most dominant players on the French political scene since the late President Francois Mitterrand, Chirac’s term has been stained by allegations of corruption. During his presidential campaign against ultra-rightist Jean-Marie Le Pen, voters took to hoisting banners that read: “Vote for the Crook, not the Fascist.”

His success with voters has been attributed to his gift for reaching out and touching ordinary people: No politician rushes to the scene of a disaster faster than Chirac, looks more enraptured when a farmer shows off his cow or appears more thrilled to kiss a baby.

Chirac, friends say, “is never better than when he is on the campaign trail.”

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Chirac was president of France from 1995 to 2007. He also served as prime minister of France twice in the 1970s and 1980s, and as Mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995. He is best known for being one of the most prominent international opponents of the Bush administration’s intention to go to war in Iraq. He also worked to abate nuclear armament, banning the further continuation of nuclear tests in France.

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Along with Mikhail Gorbachev, Helmut Kohl, and Francois Mitterand, Jacques Chirac, was one of the most iconic statesmen of the twentieth century. Two-time president of France, mayor of Paris, and international politician, a recent poll voted him the most admired political figure in France, with current president Nicolas Sarkozy ranking in 32nd place. A protégé of General de Gaulle, Chirac started political life after France’s defeat in Algeria in the early 1960s. He then became Prime Minister George de Pompidou’s “bulldozer” and a personal negotiator with Saddam Hussein for France’s oil interests in the Persian Gulf.

He sold Iraq its first nuclear reactor and incurred the wrath of the United States and Israel, which he discusses in striking detail. As mayor of Paris, Chirac was famed for his success in beautifying the City of Lights and kee

One of France’s most admired politicians, Chirac was twice elected president and served on a political spectrum from the local (as mayor of Paris) to the international (as prime minister). In this engaging autobiography, Chirac details a life not predestined for politics, for he dreamed of a career in military aeronautics.

In 1967, at 35, he entered politics as part of the cabinet of Georges Pompidou. He reflects on 40 years of public life, from support for the development of the Concorde to the social malaise of the 1960s, from selling Iraq its first nuclear reactor to opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, to concerns about European fiscal policies.

For Chirac, politics has not been a question of ideology but of people, personalities and sensitivities. Accordingly, he details relationships with major international figures, including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, François Mitterand, Margaret Thatcher, Nelson Mandela, Shimon Peres, and Yasser Arafat. His chapter on the Iraq War will be particularly compelling reading for Americans. This fascinating autobiography includes photographs chronicling Chirac’s long and admired career.

He campaigned for the presidency in 1981, but he and Giscard d’Estaing split the conservative vote, and the Socialist Party’s Francois Mitterrand won the election instead.

Chirac was appointed prime minister for a second time in 1986 as part of a power-sharing agreement with Mitterrand, after a coalition of center-right parties won a slim majority in the National Assembly.

After a second unsuccessful presidential run in 1988, he finally won the race for France’s top job in 1995, beating Socialist Party candidate Lionel Jospin.

In the run-up to France joining the euro, Chirac backed a series of unpopular austerity measures, which prompted strikes, and led to his conservative coalition losing its parliamentary majority in 1997, forcing him into “cohabitation” with Jospin, who became his PM.

In 2002, he was elected for a second term with a landslide win over far-right politician Jean Marie Le Pen, after socialist candidate Jospin’s shock defeat in the first round of voting.

Weeks later, Chirac survived an assassination attempt when a neo-Nazi gunman fired a rifle at his open-top car during the annual Bastille Day parade.

The French leader was a vocal opponent of U.S.-led plans to intervene in Iraq, threatening to veto any U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing an invasion of the country; when the coalition went ahead with military action in the absence of a resolution, he condemned the action as “illegitimate and illegal.”

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His opposition to the war made him — and his nation — the target of criticism and even ridicule in the U.S., with French products and companies boycotted, and French fries replaced by “Freedom fries.”

While his stance on Iraq proved popular with some, both at home and abroad, other factors were hitting his approval ratings.

In 2004 his former PM Alain Juppe was convicted of misappropriating public funds. Chirac, too, was accused of involvement in corruption, but he was immune from prosecution for the term of his presidency.

The following year, riots broke out in the suburbs of Paris and other cities, prompted by anger at discrimination and high youth unemployment.

In 2007, two years after suffering a mild stroke, he announced his retirement from politics; his longtime rival, Nicolas Sarkozy won the presidential race later that year.

Personal:

  • Birth date: November 29, 1932
  • Birth place: Paris, France
  • Birth name: Jacques Rene Chirac
  • Father: Francois Chirac
  • Mother: Marie Louise Chirac
  • Marriage: Bernadette Chodron de Courcel (March 16, 1956-present)
  • Children: Claude, Laurence and Anh Dao
  • Education: Lycée Louis-le-Grand; L’Institut d’Etudes Politiques (IEP/Institute for Political Studies); Attended Harvard University; L’Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA/National School of Administration)
  • Religion: Roman Catholic

Timeline:

  • 1962 – Joins the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers.
  • 1967-1968 – Secretary of State of Employment.
  • 1968-1971 – Economy and Finance Minister.
  • 1972-1974 – Agriculture Minister.
  • 1974-1976 – Premier/Prime Minister of France.
  • 1976 – Is elected president of L’Union de Démocrates pour la République or (RPR). Changes the party’s name to Rassemblement pour la République.
  • 1977-1995 – Mayor of Paris.
  • 1979-1980 – Member of the European Parliament.
  • 1979 – Meets newly arrived Vietnamese refugee Anh Dao Traxel at Charles de Gaulle airport and takes her home to become a member of his family.
  • May 7, 1995 – Is elected president of France.
  • 1986-1988 – Premier/Prime Minister of France.
  • May 5, 2002 – Is re-elected as president.
  • July 14, 2002 – Survives an assassination attempt during a Bastille Day parade when a neo-nazi gunman fires a rifle at his open-top car.
  • September 2, 2005 – Is taken to Val-de-Grace Hospital for a “vascular incident” which impaired vision in one of his eyes. He is discharged September 9th.
  • February 8, 2006 – Condemns the decision of several French newspapers to reprint certain controversial cartoons about Muslims that were originally printed in Danish newspapers.
  • May 16, 2007 – Leaves office.
  • November 21, 2007 – Is placed under formal investigation by a judge for possible misuse of public funds while mayor of Paris. He is the first former French president since – World War II to be investigated for corruption.
  • April 12, 2008 – Is released from a hospital, after a two-day stay where he has a pace-maker installed.
  • June 10, 2008 – Announces the creation of a nonprofit organization, the Chirac Foundation, to promote sustainable development and dialogue among cultures.
  • October 30, 2009 – A French judge indicts Chirac on charges of embezzlement while he was mayor of Paris and orders the former president to stand trial.
  • November 5, 2009 – The first volume of Chirac’s memoirs, “Memoires: Chaque Pas Doit Etre un But” (Each Step Should be a Goal), is published.
  • September 21, 2010 – It is announced that Chirac will stand trial for embezzlement in March 2011. The trial relates to allegations of embezzlement between 1992 and 1995 during his tenure as mayor of Paris.
  • November 8, 2010 – It is announced that Chirac will stand trial for a second corruption case. The trial relates to allegations dating back to between 1990 and 1994.
  • September 5, 2011 – Chirac’s corruption trial begins. Chirac is excused from attending the trial, after medical records are submitted showing that he suffers from severe memory loss.
  • December 15, 2011 – Is found guilty on corruption charges and receives a two-year suspended sentence. The conviction is for breach of trust, misappropriation of public funds and illegal use of influence from 1990 through 1995.
  • November 13, 2012 – Chirac’s autobiography, “My Life in Politics,” is released.
  • December 10, 2015 – It is reported that Chirac has been admitted to a Paris hospital. It is likely he will remain under observation for several days.
  • September 18, 2016 – Chirac is admitted to a Paris hospital for a lung infection.
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Death
Former President Jacques Chirac, a political chameleon who dominated French politics for decades and strived to make France’s voice heard in Europe and beyond, died on Thursday 26 September 2019 at the age of 86. The National Assembly interrupted a sitting to hold a minute’s silence. President Emmanuel Macron cancelled a public engagement and scheduled a televised address later on Thursday.

Chirac passed away peacefully surrounded by his loved ones, his son-in-law Frederic Salat-Baroux told Reuters.

“Jacques Chirac knew how to form a personal bond with the French people,” said former socialist President Francois Hollande. “France was in his blood. He explored every corner, tasted every local delicacy.”

Family
Chirac was married, with two daughters and a foster daughter.

“Chirac is a bulldozer. If I ask him to dig a subway from my home at Hotel Matignon, I know he will do it in one night.” – Georges Pompidou, President of the Republic.

Jacques Chirac Biography and Profile

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