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The former French president Jacques Chirac (pictured in 2007, the year he left office) died at the age of 86

Thousands flocked to the Elysee Palace to pay tribute to former French President Jacques Chirac last night, while the Tricolore flew on half mast and the Eiffel Tower fell in the dark after he died at the age of 86.

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Chirac, who twice served as Prime Minister and Mayor of Paris before becoming a leader, died yesterday morning surrounded by his family.

Shortly thereafter, a minute's silence was held in the French National Assembly, when images of the deceased statesman were projected on the Hotel de Ville in Paris.

As the day progressed, mourners arrived in his Paris home to lay flowers before thousands stood in line to write a tribute in a condolence book in the presidential palace.

President Emmanuel Macron has announced that a national day of mourning will take place on Monday before bringing an emotional tribute.

The Eiffel Tower was plunged into the dark from 7 p.m. when French politicians described it past and present as a & # 39; great Frenchman & # 39; who & # 39; France embodied & # 39 ;.

Former French President Jacques Chirac (pictured in 2007, the year he left office) died at the age of 86 & surrounded by his family & # 39 ;, his son-in-law revealed yesterday

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Former French President Jacques Chirac (pictured in 2007, the year he left office) died at the age of 86 & surrounded by his family & # 39 ;, his son-in-law revealed yesterday

Thousands waited in line to pay homage to a condolence book at the Eylsee presidential palace in Paris, which was placed in front of an image of him and protected by guards

Thousands waited in line to pay homage to a condolence book at the Eylsee presidential palace in Paris, which was placed in front of an image of him and protected by guards

Thousands waited in line to pay homage to a condolence book at the Eylsee presidential palace in Paris, which was placed in front of an image of him and protected by guards

Lights on the Eiffel Tower in memory of the deceased former president of France, Jacques Chirac

Lights on the Eiffel Tower in memory of the deceased former president of France, Jacques Chirac

Lights on the Eiffel Tower in memory of the deceased former president of France, Jacques Chirac

Parisians stood in line until well into the evening to sign a condolence book in the presidential palace

Parisians stood in line until well into the evening to sign a condolence book in the presidential palace

Parisians stood in line until well into the evening to sign a condolence book in the presidential palace

President Emmanuel Macron has announced that a national day of mourning will take place on Monday before bringing an emotional tribute
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President Emmanuel Macron has announced that a national day of mourning will take place on Monday before bringing an emotional tribute

President Emmanuel Macron has announced that a national day of mourning will take place on Monday before bringing an emotional tribute

People walked yesterday in the square of the Paris Town Hall, where a giant screen showed photos of former former French President Jacques Chirac

People walked yesterday in the square of the Paris Town Hall, where a giant screen showed photos of former former French President Jacques Chirac

People walked yesterday in the square of the Paris Town Hall, where a giant screen showed photos of former former French President Jacques Chirac

People are queued up at the Elysee Palace in Paris to express their condolences

People are queued up at the Elysee Palace in Paris to express their condolences

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People are queued up at the Elysee Palace in Paris to express their condolences

The French national flag flying half-mast on the Elysee Palace in memory of Jacques Chirac for last night in Paris

The French national flag flying half-mast on the Elysee Palace in memory of Jacques Chirac for last night in Paris

The French national flag flying half-mast on the Elysee Palace in memory of Jacques Chirac for last night in Paris

Macron praised Chirac for leading an & # 39; independent and proud France, able to stand up against an unjustified military intervention & # 39 ;.

He was later seen with his wife Brigitte in the former house of Chriac and was greeted by his son-in-law Frederic Salat-Baroux.

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Despite his fierce opposition to the war in Iraq, which put him at odds with the former prime minister, Tony Blair greeted Chirac as & # 39; a towering figure in French and European politics over many decades. & # 39;

Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote on Twitter: & Jacques Chirac was a formidable political leader who shaped the destiny of his country in a career that spanned four decades. His loss will be felt throughout France, across the generations. & # 39;

He added in French: & # 39; My sincere condolences to his family, his friends, and the French people. & # 39;

Macron said the door to the Elysee Palace would remain open for people to write in the condolence book, which was placed in front of a large photo of Chirac.

Parisians stood in line to honor the block at Chirac in the Elysee Palace

Parisians stood in line to honor the block at Chirac in the Elysee Palace

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Parisians stood in line to honor the block at Chirac in the Elysee Palace

French honor guards stand next to Jacques Chirac's portrait while people sign condolence registers yesterday at Elysian presidential palace

French honor guards stand next to Jacques Chirac's portrait while people sign condolence registers yesterday at Elysian presidential palace

French honor guards stand next to Jacques Chirac's portrait while people sign condolence registers yesterday at Elysian presidential palace

A woman signs the condolence register in front of the Paris city hall to pay tribute to former former French President Jacques Chirac in Paris

A woman signs the condolence register in front of the Paris city hall to pay tribute to former former French President Jacques Chirac in Paris

A woman signs the condolence register in front of the Paris city hall to pay tribute to former former French President Jacques Chirac in Paris

Parisians are depicted writing in condolence books placed in front of a portrait of Chirac

Parisians are depicted writing in condolence books placed in front of a portrait of Chirac

Parisians are depicted writing in condolence books placed in front of a portrait of Chirac

Despite the long line at the Elysee, many took the time to write long tributes

Despite the long line at the Elysee, many took the time to write long tributes

Despite the long line at the Elysee, many took the time to write long tributes

People gather yesterday near the apartment of former French former President Jacques Chirac on Rue de Tournon, in Paris

People gather yesterday near the apartment of former French former President Jacques Chirac on Rue de Tournon, in Paris

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People gather yesterday near the apartment of former French former President Jacques Chirac on Rue de Tournon, in Paris

Emotional supporters gather yesterday near the apartment of former French former President Jacques Chirac

Emotional supporters gather yesterday near the apartment of former French former President Jacques Chirac

Emotional supporters gather yesterday near the apartment of former French former President Jacques Chirac

French president Emmanuel Macron, center, arrives at Jacques Chirac last night to honor him

French president Emmanuel Macron, center, arrives at Jacques Chirac last night to honor him

French president Emmanuel Macron, center, arrives at Jacques Chirac last night to honor him

The former son-in-law of former President Jacques Chirac, Frederic Salat-Baroux (left) welcomes Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron (right) upon arrival at Chirac's house
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The former son-in-law of former President Jacques Chirac, Frederic Salat-Baroux (left) welcomes Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron (right) upon arrival at Chirac's house

The former son-in-law of former President Jacques Chirac, Frederic Salat-Baroux (left) welcomes Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron (right) upon arrival at Chirac's house

Maryvonne Pinault and French CEO of luxury group Kering Francois-Henri Pinault leave the apartment of former French former president Jacques Chirac

Maryvonne Pinault and French CEO of luxury group Kering Francois-Henri Pinault leave the apartment of former French former president Jacques Chirac

Maryvonne Pinault and French CEO of luxury group Kering Francois-Henri Pinault leave the apartment of former French former president Jacques Chirac

Despite the long line, many took the time to write long tributes.

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Among them was 23-year-old engineer Pierre Etienne, who is Chirac & # 39; an avid defender of Franco-African relations & # 39; called.

& # 39; My admiration and tenderness for the last of the great presidents & # 39 ;, another benefactor wrote.

The death of Chirac was announced yesterday morning by his son-in-law Frederic Salat-Baroux.

The former leader suffered from heart problems in recent years.

In a long career on the French right, Chirac was twice Prime Minister of France before serving as head of state from 1995 to 2007.

His opposition to the war in Iraq put him at odds with George W. Bush and Tony Blair.

French police forces are deployed outside the apartment of former French former president Jacques Chirac

French police forces are deployed outside the apartment of former French former president Jacques Chirac

French police forces are deployed outside the apartment of former French former president Jacques Chirac

People watch former President Jacques Chirac after a big screen at the big city hall of Paris

People watch former President Jacques Chirac after a big screen at the big city hall of Paris

People watch former President Jacques Chirac after a big screen at the big city hall of Paris

Lights on the Eiffel Tower went out in memory of Jacques Chirac, who held two consecutive presidential terms from 1995 to 2007

Lights on the Eiffel Tower went out in memory of Jacques Chirac, who held two consecutive presidential terms from 1995 to 2007

Lights on the Eiffel Tower went out in memory of Jacques Chirac, who held two consecutive presidential terms from 1995 to 2007

As president, he historically apologized for France's role in the Holocaust, but his term of office was also marked by riots and a burning defeat over EU integration.

He also had a reputation as a womanizer and philanderer who repeatedly cheated on his long-suffering wife Bernadette during their 63-year marriage.

His famous partners were the Italian sex symbol Claudia Cardinale and there were rumors about a series of relationships with journalists and politicians.

Chirac was also known for his love of the good life, enjoying the attributes of power, including luxury travel abroad and life in the presidential palace.

After leaving office, Chirac was found guilty of corruption dating back to his time as mayor of Paris and was sentenced to two years in prison.

His successors both paid tribute today, Nicolas Sarkozy stated that & # 39; part of my life has disappeared & quot; while Francois Hollande said that France & # 39; lost a statesman & & # 39 ;.

People sign a condolence register for former French President Jacques Chirac at the Elysee Palace

People sign a condolence register for former French President Jacques Chirac at the Elysee Palace

People sign a condolence register for former French President Jacques Chirac at the Elysee Palace

An infamous philanderer who once confessed: & # 39; I was never averse to women … but I never exaggerated & # 39;

Chirac married Bernadette in 1956 and they remained married for the rest of his life despite his serial philandering. They had two children.

Chirac's charming style, large and elegant, would do wonders on the campaign track, radiate warmth when kissing babies and enjoy western movies and beer.

Handsome, and with the powerful physique of the rugby player he was in his youth, his smooth hair and nose on the ski slope were favorites of cartoonists.

Despite his famous success with women, his office workers called him & # 39; Mr. Three Minutes, including shower & # 39 ;, according to a book published by his driver.

As mayor of Paris in the 1980s, he is said to have ordered the municipality to buy a one-bedroom bus so that he could meet his loved ones during official engagements.

Jacques Chirac in 2013 with his wife Bernadette, whom he married in 1956 - a marriage that lasted until his death despite his serial philandering

Jacques Chirac in 2013 with his wife Bernadette, whom he married in 1956 - a marriage that lasted until his death despite his serial philandering

Jacques Chirac in 2013 with his wife Bernadette, whom he married in 1956 – a marriage that lasted until his death despite his serial philandering

He was unavailable for several hours in 1997 to hear that Diana, Princess of Wales, had been involved in a fatal car accident in Paris.

The rumor went on later that he had slept with Claudia Cardinale, the Italian actress and sex symbol.

Chirac was generally said to have an affair with political correspondent and married Mother-of-a-Jacqueline Chabridon in the 1970s, when he was Prime Minister.

There were even claims that Chirac was considering jeopardizing his political career by divorcing Bernadette to be with Chabridon.

Chirac with Claudia Cardinale. Rumor has it that the president was at the Italian sex symbol when the news about the car accident of Princess Diana became known

Chirac with Claudia Cardinale. Rumor has it that the president was at the Italian sex symbol when the news about the car accident of Princess Diana became known

Chirac with Claudia Cardinale. Rumor has it that the president was at the Italian sex symbol when the news about the car accident of Princess Diana became known

According to rumors, journalist Jacqueline Chabridon (photo in 2012) talks about a relationship with Chirac in the 1970s when he was prime minister

According to rumors, journalist Jacqueline Chabridon (photo in 2012) talks about a relationship with Chirac in the 1970s when he was prime minister

According to rumors, journalist Jacqueline Chabridon (photo in 2012) talks about a relationship with Chirac in the 1970s when he was prime minister

Chirac was close to presidential adviser Marie-France Garaud (photo) in the 1970s and his former driver claimed that there was a & # 39; amorous & # 39; relationship between them

When Chirac was Prime Minister in the 1980s, there were claims that he was a meeting & # 39; hand in hand & # 39; would go with Health Minister Michele Barzach (photo)

When Chirac was Prime Minister in the 1980s, there were claims that he was a meeting & # 39; hand in hand & # 39; would go with Health Minister Michele Barzach (photo)

When Chirac was Prime Minister in the 1980s, there were claims that he was a meeting & # 39; hand in hand & # 39; would go with Health Minister Michele Barzach (photo)

Bernadette himself once said that she had considered leaving her husband and begged him to stop and said: & # 39; Napoleon started losing everything on the day he left Josephine. & # 39;

He admitted that he still referred to his wife using the formal & # 39; vous & # 39; instead of the well-known & # 39; tu & # 39 ;.

In the 1970s, Chirac took over as president-advisor Marie-France Garaud, generally regarded as the most influential woman in France.

The driver's book in 2001 claimed that there was a & # 39; amorous & # 39; relationship between them. She later ran for president herself.

When Chirac was Prime Minister in the 1980s, there were claims that he would & # 39; hold a meeting & # 39; with Minister Michele Barzach.

Further rumors surrounded Chirac and journalist Elisabeth Friederich in the early nineties.

There was outrage when the couple was pictured on a beach vacation together in Mauritius, a trip allegedly paid for with public funds.

Just before leaving office, Chirac said: & # 39; There have been women I have loved so much, as discreetly as possible. & # 39;

He also said: & # 39; I was never averse to women. But I never exaggerated. & # 39; Chirac remained a devout Roman Catholic all his life.

The Chiracs also adopted Ahn Dao Taxel, a Vietnam boat refugee who arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport in 1979, when Mr. Chirac told her: & # 39; You are coming home with us & # 39 ;.

Chirac and his wife Bernadette at a Christmas tree party at the Elysee Palace in 2004

Chirac and his wife Bernadette at a Christmas tree party at the Elysee Palace in 2004

Chirac and his wife Bernadette at a Christmas tree party at the Elysee Palace in 2004

Jacques Chirac talks to his daughter Laurence aboard a plane in 1981, when he did the first of two failed attempts at French presidency in that year's election.

Jacques Chirac talks to his daughter Laurence aboard a plane in 1981, when he did the first of two failed attempts at French presidency in that year's election.

Jacques Chirac talks to his daughter Laurence aboard a plane in 1981, when he did the first of two failed attempts at French presidency in that year's election.

Chirac on vacation with his family in 1995, the year he was elected president on the third attempt after defeats in the 1981 and 1988 elections

Chirac on vacation with his family in 1995, the year he was elected president on the third attempt after defeats in the 1981 and 1988 elections

Chirac on vacation with his family in 1995, the year he was elected president on the third attempt after defeats in the 1981 and 1988 elections

Declining health from Jacques Chirac who suffered a stroke at the office and was even hit by his dog

Chirac was a former chain smoker and openly enjoyed the luxury of strength during his long career.

His health began to deteriorate in his office and in 2005 suffered a mysterious blood vessel problem that turned out to be a stroke. He installed a pacemaker in 2008.

In a bizarre episode in 2009, he was taken to the hospital after being rescued by his own dog who was being treated with antidepressants.

Chirac was & # 39; badly bitten & # 39; after the animal for him & # 39; for no apparent reason & # 39; had gone, the wife of the former president remembered.

The dog apparently struggled to adapt to life outside the Elysee presidential palace and had to be given away later.

Chirac was apologized for attending his 2011 trial for health reasons after doctors said he was suffering from neurological problems affecting his memory.

He was found guilty of channeling public money into ghost jobs for political guard when he was mayor of Paris, but was not sent to prison, partly for health reasons.

The former president also had kidney surgery in 2013 and was also admitted three times after his office at the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris for a lung infection.

In his final years he became visibly weak and walked with a cane during a prize-giving ceremony in November 2014 from his foundation, which supports peace projects. It is not yet revealed how he died.

Chirac in Paris in 2014. He had had a number of health problems in recent years

Chirac in Paris in 2014. He had had a number of health problems in recent years

Chirac in Paris in 2014. He had had a number of health problems in recent years

Jacques and Bernadette Chirac on vacation in 1995, the year he was elected president of France

Jacques and Bernadette Chirac on vacation in 1995, the year he was elected president of France

Jacques and Bernadette Chirac on vacation in 1995, the year he was elected president of France

Chirac in 1995 with his daughter Claude, who became his advisor and spokeswoman when her father was elected president that year

Chirac in 1995 with his daughter Claude, who became his advisor and spokeswoman when her father was elected president that year

Chirac in 1995 with his daughter Claude, who became his advisor and spokeswoman when her father was elected president that year

Chirac with the Queen after a state banquet at Windsor Castle in November 2004

Chirac with the Queen after a state banquet at Windsor Castle in November 2004

Chirac with the Queen after a state banquet at Windsor Castle in November 2004

Chirac with then-U.S. President George W. Bush during a D-Day wreath laying in 2004. The Frenchman's opposition to the war in Iraq weakened their relationship

Chirac with then-U.S. President George W. Bush during a D-Day wreath laying in 2004. The Frenchman's opposition to the war in Iraq weakened their relationship

Chirac with then-U.S. President George W. Bush during a D-Day wreath laying in 2004. The Frenchman's opposition to the war in Iraq weakened their relationship

Tribute from left and right as France mourns & # 39; a statesman but also a friend & # 39;

Cries of shock were heard in the National Assembly when the President of the legislator Richard Ferrand announced the news that Chirac had died today.

Ferrand, a member of Emmanuel Macron's party, asked for a minute's silence and said, "Jacques Chirac is part of the history of France."

He said that Chirac left behind a & # 39; a France that looked like him – complex, sometimes crossed by contradictions and always motivated by an unbridled Republican passion. & # 39;

The mourners brought flowers and police today set up barricades around his hometown in Paris.

Chirac & # 39; s immediate successor Nicolas Sarkozy praised Chirac as a mentor who never gave his thumb about our independence, nor about his deep commitment to Europe & # 39 ;.

& # 39; Part of my life has disappeared today, & # 39; Sarkozy said in a statement, adding that Chirac & # 39; embodied a France that was true to its universal values. & # 39;

Sarkozy & # 39; s socialist successor Francois Hollande tweeted: & # 39; The French, regardless of their beliefs, are losing a statesman today, but also a friend. & # 39;

Chirac gets out of a car, cigarette in hand, in the 1960s when his political rise began, while Charles de Gaulle was still president of France

Chirac gets out of a car, cigarette in hand, in the 1960s when his political rise began, while Charles de Gaulle was still president of France

Chirac gets out of a car, cigarette in hand, in the 1960s when his political rise began, while Charles de Gaulle was still president of France

Current President Emmanuel Macron has canceled a public contract and is expected to make a television address later on Thursday.

Chirac earned tribute today even from the far left and far right.

The former president & # 39; loved France more than those who came after & & # 39 ;, said far left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon.

The extreme right-wing National Rally leader Marine Le Pen said he was able to fight madness and the war in Iraq.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was Chirac's counterpart from 2005 to 2007, called him an & # 39; excellent partner and friend & # 39 ;.

Merkel's predecessor, Gerhard Schröder, who opposed the war in Iraq at Chirac, said: "It was clear to him that Europe can only work well if Germany and France agree" & # 39 ;.

French police watch as flowers are delivered to the home of the deceased French president Jacques Chirac in Rue Tournon in Paris

French police watch as flowers are delivered to the home of the deceased French president Jacques Chirac in Rue Tournon in Paris

French police watch as flowers are delivered to the home of the deceased French president Jacques Chirac in Rue Tournon in Paris

Tony Blair, with whom he touched on Iraq, said: & # 39; He was a towering figure in French and European politics for many decades.

& # 39; Whatever our differences from time to time were, he was always infallibly friendly, generous and personally supportive. & # 39;

Current Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed his condolences in French and added that Mr. Chirac was a formidable political leader who shaped the destiny of his country in a career spanning four decades.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission and the former Luxembourg Prime Minister, said that he & # 39; moved and destroyed & # 39; was to hear the news.

"Europe not only loses a great statesman, but the president also loses a good friend," he said in a statement.

Vladimir Putin described Chirac as a & # 39; wise and forward-looking statesman & # 39; and also paid homage to & # 39; his intellect and vast knowledge & # 39;

French police block the street where former French President Jacques Chirac lived in Paris after the news of his death was announced today

French police block the street where former French President Jacques Chirac lived in Paris after the news of his death was announced today

French police block the street where former French President Jacques Chirac lived in Paris after the news of his death was announced today

The early life of a communist agitator who later became a right-wing standard bearer

Chirac was born in Paris in November 1932 and was expelled from school for photographing paper crams on a teacher.

As a young man, Chirac had joined the French Communist Party and called for the abolition of nuclear weapons, although he would later become a standard bearer of justice.

He sold the communist newspaper L & # 39; Humanite on the street for a short time.

Mr. Chirac traveled to the United States as a young man and as President he remembered hitchhiking across the country.

He worked as a forklift driver in St. Louis and as a soft drink in a Howard Johnson restaurant while attending summer school at Harvard University.

Chirac served in Algeria during the war of independence, which lost France, and enrolled in the French Ecole Nationale d & # 39; Administration, the elite training ground for the French political class.

In 1956 he married Bernadette Chodron de Courcel, the niece of a former assistant to De Gaulle and himself involved in local politics in the agricultural region of Correze.

A young Jacques Chirac is pictured at the age of 10. He joined the Communist Party as a young man, but later became a standard bearer of French law

A young Jacques Chirac is pictured at the age of 10. He joined the Communist Party as a young man, but later became a standard bearer of French law

A young Jacques Chirac is pictured at the age of 10. He joined the Communist Party as a young man, but later became a standard bearer of French law

Chirac as French Prime Minister in 1975 with Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping

Chirac as French Prime Minister in 1975 with Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping

Chirac as French Prime Minister in 1975 with Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping

A younger Jacques Chirac in 1975, when he was Prime Minister of France, with Margaret Thatcher, who was then leader of the opposition in Great Britain

A younger Jacques Chirac in 1975, when he was Prime Minister of France, with Margaret Thatcher, who was then leader of the opposition in Great Britain

A younger Jacques Chirac in 1975, when he was Prime Minister of France, with Margaret Thatcher, who was then leader of the opposition in Great Britain

Political rise of & # 39; Chameleon Bonaparte & # 39; who became prime minister at the age of 41

Chirac & # 39; s long career in national politics began in the 1960s when he worked under president and former resistance hero Charles de Gaulle.

He was nicknamed & # 39; Le Bulldozer & # 39; early in his career because of his determination and ambition.

His changing political views also earned him nicknames, such as Chameleon Bonaparte and the Weathervane.

Within five years, Chirac was a deputy minister and had conquered a parliamentary seat in the central Correze region.

When students and trade unions entered the streets of Paris in the May 1968 uprising, he helped close a ceasefire that avoided large bloodshed.

On his way to the ladder, he became Prime Minister in 1974 – a subordinate position in France – under President Valery Giscard d & # 39; Estaing.

A personality conflict with Giscard led Chirac to resign, but he quickly took over the presidency from the conservative political party that he regained as the Republic Rally.

He became mayor of Paris in 1977 and used the visible office as a power base for the next 18 years.

Chirac returned as a prime minister in 1986 in an uneasy arrangement with president Francois Mitterrand of the opposition party.

That arrangement came to an end when Chirac, who had already tried for the presidency in 1981, lost the 1988 election against Mitterrand.

Chirac wordt begroet door Sumoworstelaars tijdens een bezoek aan Japan in november 1996 tijdens zijn eerste termijn als president van Frankrijk

Chirac wordt begroet door Sumoworstelaars tijdens een bezoek aan Japan in november 1996 tijdens zijn eerste termijn als president van Frankrijk

Chirac wordt begroet door Sumoworstelaars tijdens een bezoek aan Japan in november 1996 tijdens zijn eerste termijn als president van Frankrijk

Chirac (midden) met de Amerikaanse president Bill Clinton en de Duitse leider Helmut Kohl in 1995

Chirac (midden) met de Amerikaanse president Bill Clinton en de Duitse leider Helmut Kohl in 1995

Chirac (midden) met de Amerikaanse president Bill Clinton en de Duitse leider Helmut Kohl in 1995

Chirac ontmoet voormalig Zuid-Afrikaanse leider Nelson Mandela in september 2002 in Johannesburg, het jaar dat Chirac herverkiezing won als Franse president

Chirac ontmoet voormalig Zuid-Afrikaanse leider Nelson Mandela in september 2002 in Johannesburg, het jaar dat Chirac herverkiezing won als Franse president

Chirac ontmoet voormalig Zuid-Afrikaanse leider Nelson Mandela in september 2002 in Johannesburg, het jaar dat Chirac herverkiezing won als Franse president

1995-2002: Holocaust-verontschuldiging, nucleaire rij en blunder bij verkiezingen in Chirac's eerste ambtstermijn als president

Chirac werd uiteindelijk verkozen tot staatshoofd bij de derde poging in 1995 toen Mitterrand eindelijk aftrad.

Veelbelovend om de 'sociale breuk' te genezen, versloeg hij de socialistische kandidaat Lionel Jospin in de tweede ronde van de verkiezingen van 1995.

In wat misschien zijn mooiste uur was, erkende Chirac de actieve rol van Frankrijk bij het deporteren van Joden naar vernietigingskampen tijdens de nazi-bezetting in de Tweede Wereldoorlog.

'Ja, de criminele dwaasheid van de bezetters werd gedetacheerd door de Fransen, door de Franse staat,' verklaarde hij en verwerpt de mythe van de onschuld van zijn natie in de Holocaust.

Meer controversieel, herstartte hij de Franse nucleaire tests in 1995, de eerste sinds het einde van de Koude Oorlog, en verdiende een berisping uit Washington.

De tests in Frans-Polynesië blijven een gevoelig probleem, waarbij Parijs gedwongen wordt een vergoeding te betalen aan inwoners die aan de tests leden.

Chirac beëindigde de verplichte militaire dienst en begon bewegingen die Frankrijk opnieuw integreerden in de NAVO-defensiealliantie, waardoor een beleid werd omgedraaid dat in de jaren zestig was vastgesteld.

Zijn presidentschap ontspoorde toen hij in 1997 onnodig parlementsverkiezingen riep en deze verloor, waardoor hij werd gedwongen de macht weer met de socialisten te delen.

In 2000 had hij een gelukkige ontsnapping aan een Concorde-luchtramp waarbij 113 mensen om het leven kwamen, toen het getroffen vliegtuig de Boeing-jet van Chirac op de landingsbaan op de luchthaven Charles de Gaulle nauwelijks miste.

Chirac in 1999 met de toenmalige Russische leider Boris Yeltsin (midden) en vervolgens kanselier van Duitsland Gerhard Schröder in Istanbul

Chirac in 1999 met de toenmalige Russische leider Boris Yeltsin (midden) en vervolgens kanselier van Duitsland Gerhard Schröder in Istanbul

Chirac in 1999 met de toenmalige Russische leider Boris Yeltsin (midden) en vervolgens kanselier van Duitsland Gerhard Schröder in Istanbul

Chirac in november 1998 met de Zimbabwaanse leider Robert Mugabe, die ook deze maand stierf

Chirac in november 1998 met de Zimbabwaanse leider Robert Mugabe, die ook deze maand stierf

Chirac in november 1998 met de Zimbabwaanse leider Robert Mugabe, die ook deze maand stierf

Chirac with the Queen at a Commonwealth War Graves cemetery in France on the 60th anniversary of D-Day in 2004

Chirac with the Queen at a Commonwealth War Graves cemetery in France on the 60th anniversary of D-Day in 2004

Chirac with the Queen at a Commonwealth War Graves cemetery in France on the 60th anniversary of D-Day in 2004

2002-07: A second term marked by riots and opposition to the war in Iraq

In 2002 he had an easy ride to a second term when far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen unexpectedly reached the final round.

In a rare show of unity, the moderate right and the left united behind Chirac, and he crushed Le Pen with 82 per cent of the vote in the runoff.

Later that year he was the subject of an assassination attempt when an extreme right militant shot at him – and missed – during a Bastille Day parade.

His outspoken opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 rocked France's relations with Washington and weakened the Atlantic alliance.

Insisted the action in Iraq was illegal, Chirac believed it would cause chaos in the region and threatened to veto a UN Security Council resolution that would have authorised the invasion.

Former French leader Jacques Chirac and then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair are pictured in Paris in 2006. They were at odds over the Iraq War

Former French leader Jacques Chirac and then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair are pictured in Paris in 2006. They were at odds over the Iraq War

Former French leader Jacques Chirac and then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair are pictured in Paris in 2006. They were at odds over the Iraq War

Angry Americans poured Bordeaux wine into the gutter and restaurants renamed French fries 'freedom fries' in retaliation.

At home his authority was badly weakened by France's 'No' vote in a European Constitution referendum in 2005, angering the pro-EU Chirac.

'If you want to shoot yourself in the foot, do it, but after don't complain,' he raged at his own electorate after the humiliating defeat.

The same year he was outmanoeuvred by Tony Blair in the bidding for the 2012 Olympics, which London won at the expense of Paris.

Fuming at Britain, he said: 'You can't trust people who cook as badly as that. After Finland, it's the country with the worst food.'

The Queen, Jacques Chirac, Bernadette Chirac, George W. Bush and Laura Bush at a ceremony in 2004. Chirac blasted British food and clashed with Britain and America over Iraq

The Queen, Jacques Chirac, Bernadette Chirac, George W. Bush and Laura Bush at a ceremony in 2004. Chirac blasted British food and clashed with Britain and America over Iraq

The Queen, Jacques Chirac, Bernadette Chirac, George W. Bush and Laura Bush at a ceremony in 2004. Chirac blasted British food and clashed with Britain and America over Iraq

Despite promising to heal the 'social fracture', Chirac failed to defuse tensions between police and minority youths that exploded into riots across France in 2005.

After the presidential term was shortened from seven years to five, he left office in 2007, replaced by Nicolas Sarkozy.

By then his popularity was low and his critics accused him of spending his political energy on staying in power rather than achieving change.

Chirac had once been Sarkozy's mentor but the pair later fell out, among other things over Sarkozy's close relationship – and rumoured affair – with Chirac's daughter, Claude.

Although Sarkozy returned to a prominent role as a minister in Chirac's government, the mistrust remained, with the former protege reportedly calling Chirac a 'do-nothing king.'

After leaving the Elysee in 2007, the Chiracs lived a quiet life on Paris's Quai Voltaire in an apartment loaned by Lebanon's Hariri family, and worked on his memoirs.

In 2012 one of his aides claimed he was planning to vote for Sarkozy's challenger Francois Hollande in that year's election.

It was never confirmed whether he did, as Bernadette cast the vote by proxy in place of the ailing former President.

Bernadette Chirac remained a confidant of Sarkozy and supported his doomed bid to return to the presidency in 2017.

Tony Blair, Cherie Blair, Bernadette Chirac and Jacques Chirac in Downing Street in 2004

Tony Blair, Cherie Blair, Bernadette Chirac and Jacques Chirac in Downing Street in 2004

Tony Blair, Cherie Blair, Bernadette Chirac and Jacques Chirac in Downing Street in 2004

Chirac waves from a window on a visit to Blomberg in Germany in 2005. That year he suffered a stinging defeat over the ill-fated European Constitution

Chirac waves from a window on a visit to Blomberg in Germany in 2005. That year he suffered a stinging defeat over the ill-fated European Constitution

Chirac waves from a window on a visit to Blomberg in Germany in 2005. That year he suffered a stinging defeat over the ill-fated European Constitution

Margaret Thatcher the 'housewife' and an attack on British food: Jacques Chirac in quotes

The art of diplomacy

'What more does this housewife want from me? My balls on a plate?'

1988, caught on a microphone during tense European negotiations with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Immigration

'Today, there is an overdose … Having Spaniards, Poles and Portuguese people working here creates fewer problems than having Muslims and blacks.'

1991, in a speech on immigration policy to his centre-right party.

Jewish round-up

'France, the country of light and of human rights, land of welcome and asylum, France on that day did something which cannot be repaired… it delivered those who were under its protection to their executioners.'

1995, becoming the first French president to admit the country's responsibility for the round-up of Jews sent to Nazi death camps during World War II.

Climate change

'Our house is burning while we look the other way… Nature, mutilated and over-exploited, can no longer regenerate, and we refuse to admit it… the Earth and mankind are in danger, and we are all responsible.'

2002, address to the Earth Summit in Johannesburg.

The far-right

'In the face of intolerance and hate, no dealing is possible, no compromise is possible, no debate is possible.'

2002, explaining his refusal to take part in a televised debate with far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen ahead of presidential elections.

Invasion of Iraq

'There is no justification for a unilateral decision to resort to war. Iraq today does not represent an immediate threat that justifies an immediate war.'

2003, after US President George W. Bush told Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to leave the country within 48 hours or face military action.

Knowing one's place

'These countries behaved in a way both ill-educated and reckless… Apart from being childish, it was also dangerous.'

2003, reprimanding five would-be European Union members for endorsing US plans to invade Iraq.

The British

'The only thing they have ever done for European agriculture is mad cow disease. After Finland, it is the country with the worst food. One cannot trust people whose cuisine is so bad.'

2005, again caught on a microphone speaking to German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Reputation as a womaniser

'I was never averse to women. But I never overdid it either.'

In a book of interviews published in 2007, 'The Stranger in the Elysee'.

Legacy

'What people will remember, I have no idea. I'm not really a vain person.'

The same book.

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