Dozens of Foreign Leaders Say “Adieu” to Jacques Chirac

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, former US President Bill Clinton, and three former French presidents were present.
  • The second-largest church in the French capital was flooded with 2,000 guests, including 80 foreign figures from heads of state and government, former leaders and members of royal families.
  • A national day of mourning was declared on Monday, coinciding with the state funeral in Paris for the late president, who died on Thursday at the age of 86.

Dozens of world leaders, including German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Russian President Vladimir Putin, attended the funeral of former French Present Jacques Chirac, which began on Monday. His body arrived at the Church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris. The archbishop of Paris, Michel Obetit, leaned in front of the coffin of Chirac, wrapped in a French flag, before being moved from the hall outside the church, where he was greeted by a large crowd of citizens.

Jacques René Chirac (1932-2019) was a French politician who served as President of France, and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra, from 1995 to 2007. Chirac was previously the Prime Minister of France from 1974 to 1976 and from 1986 to 1988, as well as the Mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995.

French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte received Chirac’s daughter, Claude, and others attending the funeral. Russian President Vladimir Putin, former US President Bill Clinton, and former French presidents Francois Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy and Valery Giscard d’Estaing were also present. President Macron later hosted the leaders for lunch at the Elysee Palace, while other leaders attending the ceremony included German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

The second-largest church in the French capital was flooded with 2,000 guests, including 80 foreign figures from heads of state and government, former leaders and members of royal families. Per his family’s wishes, and as reported by the German news agency, DPA, the leader of France’s far-right National Rally Party, Marine Le Pen, will not attend the funeral. Le Pen said in a tweet that she regretted the position of the former president’s family.

A national day of mourning was declared on Monday, coinciding with the state funeral in Paris for the late president, who died on Thursday at the age of 86. Many French people praise Chirac as a leader who has cemented France’s role on the world stage and for opposing the 2003 Iraq War. His image had been little tarnished, however, by his conviction after leaving power for misusing public funds.

A military funeral for Chirac also took place at the Hotel des Invalides in central Paris, where his body lay in state for onlookers. It was then transported in a parade to the church of Saint-Sulpice. Chirac will be buried at the Montparnasse cemetery in Paris next to his daughter Lawrence, who died in 2016.

With the death of Jacques Chirac, there are currently three living former French Presidents: François Hollande, 65, (2012–2017); Nicolas Sarkozy, 64, (2007–2012), and Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, 93, (1974–1981).

Chirac was inaugurated in 1995, and quickly resumed nuclear tests in the South Pacific, which provoked great international alarm. Toward the end of his presidency, however, Chirac turned into an advocate for poor countries. Chirac visited Africa at least once a year, demonstrating his solidarity with the continent, which he defended in all forums without preventing him from criticizing a number of arbitrary regimes there.

Chirac left his mark on the international scene through a series of sensational incidents. In a 1996 visit to the Old City of Jerusalem, he responded in anger after being harassed by plainclothes police and soldiers. He also admonished the former communist states of Eastern Europe for siding with Washington— and against him— during the 2003 Iraq War.

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Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site.  

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