Jacques Chirac facts for kids

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Jacques Chirac
ChiracUSA.jpg
President of France
In office
17 May 1995 – 16 May 2007
Prime Minister Alain Juppé
Lionel Jospin
Jean-Pierre Raffarin
Dominique de Villepin
Preceded by François Mitterrand
Succeeded by Nicolas Sarkozy
Prime Minister of France
In office
20 March 1986 – 10 May 1988
President François Mitterrand
Preceded by Laurent Fabius
Succeeded by Michel Rocard
In office
27 May 1974 – 26 August 1976
President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
Preceded by Pierre Messmer
Succeeded by Raymond Barre
Mayor of Paris
In office
20 March 1977 – 16 May 1995
Preceded by Office re-established
Succeeded by Jean Tiberi
President of Rally for the Republic
In office
5 December 1976 – 4 November 1994
Preceded by Office established
Succeeded by Alain Juppé
Minister of the Interior
In office
27 February 1974 – 28 May 1974
Prime Minister Pierre Messmer
Preceded by Raymond Marcellin
Succeeded by Michel Poniatowski
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development
In office
7 July 1972 – 27 February 1974
Prime Minister Pierre Messmer
Preceded by Michel Cointat
Succeeded by Raymond Marcellin
Minister for Parliamentary Relations
In office
7 January 1971 – 5 July 1972
Prime Minister Jacques Chaban-Delmas
Preceded by Roger Frey
Succeeded by Robert Boulin
President of the Corrèze General Council
In office
15 March 1970 – 25 March 1979
Preceded by Elie Rouby
Succeeded by Georges Debat
Personal details
Born
Jacques René Chirac

(1932-11-29)29 November 1932
Paris, French Third Republic
Died 26 September 2019(2019-09-26) (aged 86)
Paris, France
Political party Communist Party (Before 1962)
Union for the New Republic (1962–1968)
Union of Democrats for the Republic (1968–1971)
Rally for the Republic (1971–2002)
Union for a Popular Movement (2002–2007)
Signature
Military service
Allegiance  France
Branch/service French Army
Years of service 1954–1957

Jacques René Chirac (29 November 1932 – 26 September 2019) was a French politician who served as President of France and Co-Prince of Andorra from 1995 to 2007. Chirac was previously the Prime Minister of France from 1974 to 1976 and from 1986 to 1988, as well as the Mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995.

After completing his degree at Sciences Po, a term at Harvard University, and the École nationale d'administration, Chirac began his career as a high-level civil servant, and entered politics shortly thereafter. Chirac occupied various senior positions, including Minister of Agriculture and Minister of the Interior.

Chirac's internal policies initially included lower tax rates, the removal of price controls, strong punishment for crime and terrorism, and business privatisation. After pursuing these policies in his second term as Prime Minister, he changed his views. He argued for more socially responsible economic policies, and was elected President in the 1995 presidential election beating Socialist Lionel Jospin, after campaigning on a platform of healing the "social rift".

He was also known for his stand against the American-led assault on Iraq, his recognition of the collaborationist French Government's role in deporting Jews, and his reduction of the presidential term from 7 years to 5 through a referendum in 2000.

At the 2002 French presidential election, he won 82.2% of the vote against the far-right candidate, Jean-Marie Le Pen. During his second term, however, he had a very low approval rating, and was considered one of the least popular presidents in modern French history.

On 14 July 2002, during Bastille Day celebrations, Chirac survived an assassination attempt by a lone gunman with a rifle hidden in a guitar case. The would-be assassin fired a shot toward the presidential motorcade, before being overpowered by bystanders. The gunman, Maxime Brunerie, underwent psychiatric testing; the violent far-right group with which he was associated, Unité Radicale, was then administratively dissolved.

In July 2006, the G8 met to discuss international energy concerns. Despite the rising awareness of global warming issues, the G8 focused on "energy security" issues. Chirac continued to be the voice within the G8 summit meetings to support international action to curb global warming and climate change concerns. Chirac warned that "humanity is dancing on a volcano" and called for serious action by the world's leading industrialised nations.

Shortly after leaving office, he launched the Fondation Chirac in June 2008. Since then it has been striving for peace through five advocacy programmes: conflict prevention, access to water and sanitation, access to quality medicines and healthcare, access to land resources, and preservation of cultural diversity. It supports field projects that involve local people and provide concrete and innovative solutions. Chirac chaired the jury for the Prize for Conflict Prevention awarded every year by his foundation.

Early life and education

Jacques Chirac en corrèze
Jacques Chirac circa 1960

Chirac, born in the Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire clinic, was the son of Abel François Marie Chirac (1898–1968), a successful executive for an aircraft company, and Marie-Louise Valette (1902–1973), a housewife. His great grandparents on both sides were peasants, but his two grandfathers were teachers from Sainte-Féréole in Corrèze. According to Chirac, his name originates from the troubadours. He was a Roman Catholic.

He was educated in Paris at the Cours Hattemer, a private school. He then attended the Lycée Carnot and the Lycée Louis-le-Grand. After his baccalauréat, he served for three months as a sailor on a coal-transporter.

President Clinton, Jacques Chirac and Helmut Kohl sign the Balkan Peace Agreement - Flickr - The Central Intelligence Agency
Bill Clinton, Jacques Chirac (center) and Helmut Kohl sign the Balkan Peace Agreement 1995

Chirac played rugby union for Brive's youth team, and also played at university level.

Inspired by General Charles de Gaulle, Chirac started to pursue a civil service career in the 1950s. During this period, he joined the French Communist Party. In 1950, he signed the Soviet-inspired Stockholm Appeal for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

In 1953, after graduating from the Paris Institute of Political Studies, he attended a non-credit course at Harvard University's summer school, before entering the ENA, the Grande école National School of Administration, which trains France's top civil servants, in 1957.

Jacques Chirac 2
Jacques Chirac 2006

In the United States Chirac worked at Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis, Missouri.

Chirac trained as a reserve military officer in armoured cavalry at Saumur, where he was ranked first in his year. He then volunteered to fight in the Algerian War, using personal connections to be sent despite the reservations of his superiors. His superiors did not want to make him an officer because they suspected he had communist leanings. After leaving the ENA in 1959, he became a civil servant.

In 1956, he married Bernadette Chodron de Courcel, with whom he had two daughters.

Death

For several years he had suffered from memory loss said to be linked to a form of Alzheimer’s disease or to the minor stroke that he had while in office. Chirac had repeated health problems since leaving office in 2007.

Chirac died at his home in Paris on 26 September 2019.

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