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France

Former right-wing president Chirac ‘backs Hollande’

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-04-18

France's much-loved former right-wing president Jacques Chirac will not be voting for incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy, one of his former ministers, but will instead support Socialist candidate François Hollande in the upcoming presidential vote.

Former conservative French President Jacques Chirac and a number of his family members will vote for Socialist Party candidate Francois Hollande in the forthcoming presidential election, according to media reports Tuesday.

According to daily newspaper Le Parisien, Chirac’s daughter Claude, her husband Frederic Salat-Baroux and her former husband Thierry Rey have all said they will vote for Hollande in the first round of the vote on April 22.

Chirac’s former senior advisor Hughes Renson will also support the Socialist candidate, according to the newspaper.

Chirac’s wife Bernadette, however, has declared publicly on a number of occasions that she will be supporting Sarkozy, who was her husband’s interior minister and also finance minister between 2002 and 2007.

Visiting the Correze administrative region where Hollande is president of the general council in June last year, Chirac himself - perhaps jokingly - that he would support the Socialist candidate.

“But he wasn’t joking,” Chirac biographer Jean-Luc Barré told BFM-TV on Tuesday referring to the former president’s comments. “I saw him ten days ago and he told me he was going to vote for Francois Hollande.”

Barré told Le Parisien that Chirac admired Hollande’s “radical socialism” and was attracted to the “social Gaulism” that he felt was strong in Hollande’s political agenda.

Sakozy ‘sad’

Sarkozy said on Tuesday that it was “sad” that certain parties were taking the liberty to speak on behalf of Chirac on such a sensitive issue.

Pointing out that the former French president was not in the best of health and had not spoken publicly for some months, Sarkozy told France Inter radio: “The best way of respecting Jacques Chirac and the difficulties he has, is to not try and make him talk, so that he is not exploited in one direction or the other by those around him.”

Chirac is well remembered and is still highly regarded by many people in France. The fact that there is no love lost between him and the current President is no secret and as far back as 1995, Sarkozy backed Chirac’s rival Edouard Balladur in the Presidential election – which Chirac won.

The former President described Sarkozy in his memoirs as talented but “nervous”, “impetuous” and overly self-assured.

Date created : 2012-04-17

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