France Analysis

Jacques Chirac: an obsession with power

The former French president Jacques Chirac died on September 26th, at the age of 86. Chirac, who was head of state from 1995 to 2007, and who had previously been prime minister of France and mayor of Paris, leaves behind him 40 years of political combat. But his political legacy is a modest one, the leftover of a career built upon the sole ambition of gaining and clinging on to power. That came at the cost of incessant political trench warfare, alliances and counter-alliances, betrayals and scandals, while blithely shifting positions to court popularity. Mediapart charts the key episodes that mark the political life of a man obsessed with power.

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It was a life spent entirely in a ferocious battle for power, and which ended up achieving very little with that power. Former president Jacques Chirac, who died aged 86 on Thursday, 12 years after quitting the Élysée, leaves behind him 40 years of public life, and a very modest political legacy. Unless it can be considered worthwhile to pass on a certain style of conducting politics which he represented throughout those years, which ended with two presidential terms, between 1995 and 2007.

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