The former president of France, Jacques Chirac has died aged 86. The ex-President who ruled his country from 1995 to 2007 died allegedly of the minor stroke he had while in office or memory loss linked to a form of Alzheimer’s disease.
Mr Chirac, who enjoyed one of the longest political careers in Europe (18 years as mayor of Paris, twice prime minister and twice president) was embroiled in corruption allegations while in the office. He will be remembered as the first former president to be convicted of corruption after a historic trial in 2011, following embezzlement charges levelled against him in a party funding scandal while as the mayor of Paris. He was given a two-year suspended prison sentence.
His blunt opposition to the US-led infamous invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the warning that such a war would be a “nightmare“ earned him a positive approval and respect around the world. His anti-war stand skyrocketed his approval rate in France to 90%.
“War is always a last resort. It is always proof of failure. It is always the worst of solutions because it brings death and misery.” Jacques Chirac about the US-led war in Iraq.
During his term in office, Jacques Chirac succeeded in cutting the presidential tenure from seven to five years. Furthermore, he rewrote the history of France by admitting that his country was the culprit in the roundup of some 76,000 Jews, who were deported to the Concentration camp, during the Second World War.
Despite his political longevity, and experience, Jacques Chirac’s tenure as president was characterized by political inactiveness, social inequality, unemployment and explosive State debt. However, until his death, he was regarded as one of the most favourite politicians amongst the French.