The Debate

Jaques Chirac's legacy: Remembering four decades on the political stage

What legacy for Jacques Chirac? France's two-term president, two-time prime minister and longtime mayor of Paris passing away at 86.From the 1986 privatization of industries to the 2003 refusal to join the war in Iraq, the dignity of recognizing the French state's role in the deportation of Jews to a long list of party financing scandals.

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He was above all, a political dynamo: who graduated from the most elite institutions... but who was renowned for his common man touch shaking hands for hours at the ag fair or in his home constituency of Corrèze in the center of France. And while he may have lost a lot of elections, he always remained a popular figure.

We're talking about 40 years of history, from the young turk who under De Gaulle helped negotiate an end to the mass strikes of May 1968 to the ageing leader who publicly rebuked his eventual successor Nicolas Sarkozy. As a Gaullist, was he the guardian of the General's principles... or the ultimate political strategist who killed Gaullism?

Produced by Alessandro XENOS, Juliette LAURAIN and Ingri BERGO

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