Death of Jacques Chirac: France Continues to Say Goodbye to its Former President

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Some people are waiting for September 27, 2019 before the Elysee to sign the register of condolences made available to the public after the death of Jacques Chirac.

The French continue to march at the Elysee to pay tribute to the former president. A big ceremony must take place this Sunday at Les Invalides.

National mourning, minute of silence in the stadiums and schools, popular ceremony in the Invalides: France is preparing to pay an intense tribute Sunday and Monday to Jacques Chirac, the fifth president of the Fifth Republic died Thursday.

To honour the memory of the former head of state, who died at 86, a major player in political life for four decades, a popular ceremony will be held Sunday from 14:00 under the dome of the Invalides. “All those who loved him will be able to come and collect themselves at the coffin,” his father-in-law Frédéric Salat-Baroux told AFP.

The coffin of the former president will be installed at the entrance of the Cathedral Saint-Louis des Invalides. Monday morning, a ceremony reserved for the family will be held at 9:30, before military honours in the courtyard, in the presence of President Emmanuel Macron.

Monday will be a day of national mourning and a solemn service chaired by Mr Macron will be held at 12.00 in the Saint-Sulpice church in Paris. Among the many expected foreign personalities, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel have announced their presence.

minute of silence will be observed Monday at 3pm in administrations and schools . A special tribute will also be paid to Jacques Chirac the weekend of October 5 and 6 in Corrèze, his chosen land.

Installation of a giant portrait of Jacques Chirac in the museum in his name in Sarran, Corrèze, September 26, 2019.
Installation of a giant portrait of Jacques Chirac in the museum in his name in Sarran, Corrèze, September 26, 2019. (© AFP / Agnes GAUDIN)

“Energy and humanity”

By opening the council of ministers Friday, the head of state once again “stressed the energy and humanity” of Jacques Chirac. The former president “goes down in history and will be missed by all of us now,” Macron said Thursday evening in a televised address.

Of condolence registers have been installed in the Elysee Palace , the doors are open to the public since Thursday night. For its part, the French Football Federation has announced a minute of meditation before all matches in France this weekend. The mayor of Paris released Thursday several dozens of photos of his first mayor, elected from 1977 to 1995, on a giant screen installed on the forecourt.

In the National Assembly, the debate on immigration scheduled Monday afternoon was postponed by one week and the review session of the bill bioethics scheduled for the evening removed.

The former head of state, sick for many years, died “very peacefully, without suffering” and surrounded by his family Thursday morning at his home, rue de Tournon in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. With Jacques Chirac disappears one of the main actors on the right of the French political life, since the end of the sixties until the middle of the years 2000.

He was also a member of the rural Corrèze – and considered one of his peasants by the rural world – twice President of the Republic, from 1995 to 2007, but also twice Prime Minister (1974-1976 and 1986- 1988), three times mayor of Paris, founder of two parties – the RPR and the UMP – as well as a repeat minister from the age of 34.

In the course of sometimes sinuous evolutions, remain some constants: the intransigent rejection of the extreme right, the concern for the national cohesion, the Gaullist approach of the international role of France, seen as a power of equilibrium having to speak to all …

The Jacques Chirac years.
The Jacques Chirac years. (© AFP /)

A Frenchman in the full sense of the word

“Jacques Chirac, he was a Frenchman in the full sense of the word, with his aspirations, his contradictions, his ambitions, his moments perhaps in some respects genius (..) and then also more complicated phases, hesitations, sometimes renunciations, “said Prime Minister Edouard Philippe Friday.

The Elyos mandates of Jacques Chirac will remain marked by his “no” to the second Iraq war, the end of the military conscription, the recognition of the responsibility of France in the deportation of the Jews, the passage to the quinquennium, the cry of alarm about environmental degradation (“Our house burns”), and a first major victory over road deaths.

His last public release was on November 2014, at the Musée du Quai-Branly devoted to the first arts and which bears his name. The Paris museum will be available for free for ten days to pay tribute.

Particularly popular since he left office, Jacques Chirac, however, has been unsuccessful, as when he was beaten by François Mitterrand in the 1988 presidential election.

In 1997, the dissolution, which was to consolidate its majority in the Assembly, led to a humiliating defeat of the right, setting up five years of cohabitation with the left of Lionel Jospin.

Lastly, in 2011, he was the first former head of state to be sentenced to death, suspended for two years, for fictitious jobs at the Paris mayor’s office.

He had two daughters, Laurence, who died in 2016, and Claude who was his communications advisor and gave him his only grandson, Martin, 23 years old.

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