Former French President Jacques Chirac has passed away at the age of 86. Famous for his opposition to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Chirac was later mired with allegations of corruption. He had served two terms as French President.
News agency AFP quoted Chirac’s son-in-law Frederic Salat-Baroux as saying, “President Jacques Chirac died this morning surrounded by his family, peacefully.
Chirac was responsible for taking his country into the single European currency. He was also credited with a key political reform reducing the presidential term of office from seven to five years.
He was nicknamed “Le Bulldozer” early in his career for his determination and ambition. He was also the first president of the country to acknowledge France’s role in the Holocaust.
Chirac was his country’s second longest-serving post-war president after his Socialist predecessor Francois Mitterrand. He also served France as its prime minister twice as well as occupying the office of Paris Mayor for 18 years.
When he opposed the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, his approval ratings for his anti-war stance in France had soared to a whopping 90%. He said that war should always a last resort adding that it was ‘always proof of failure.’ “It is always the worst of solutions because it brings death and misery,” Jacques Chirac had said a week before the US-led coalition attacked Iraq. The former French president had warned that any occupation of Iraq would end in a ‘nightmare.’ The developments of the following years would prove him right.
He had suffered a stroke in 2005. Nine years later, his wife Bernadette said that he would no longer speak in public due to his memory loss. In 2011, he became the first French president to be convicted of corruption.