France bids final goodbye to Jacques Chirac

The people of France bid a final farewell to their former president Jacques Chirac, who will be remembered as a charismatic giant of domestic and international politics despite a mixed legacy.

There was a massive turnout of people who paid homage at Chirac’s coffin ahead of a national day of mourning on Monday and a memorial service expected to be attended by dozens of world leaders.

Chirac’s death on Thursday aged 86 prompted a flood of tributes to a man whose high-profile political career spanned three decades capped by 12 years as president from 1995-2007.

But it also sparked questions about how much this consummate political operator had actually achieved during a long spell in office and again threw the spotlight on a 2011 conviction for graft over his time as Paris mayor.

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Nevertheless, a poll in Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper showed that the French consider him to have been their best president of the modern era, alongside Charles de Gaulle.

An initial multi-faith prayer was held around the coffin in the Saint-Louis-des-Invalides cathedral at the Invalides memorial complex with close family, including his daughter Claude.

Source: AFP

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