Born on 29 November 1932, Chirac was a French politician who served as President and officio Co-Prince of Andorra from 1995 to 2007.
Chirac previously was Prime Minister of France from 1974 to 1976 and from 1986 to 1988, as well as Mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995.
After completing his degree at Sciences Po, a term at Harvard University, and the École nationale d’administration, Chirac began his career as a high-level civil servant, and entered politics shortly after.
Chirac occupied various senior positions, including Minister of Agriculture and Minister of the Interior.
Chirac’s internal policies initially included lower tax rates, the removal of price controls, strong punishment for crime and terrorism, and business privatisation.
After pursuing these policies in his second term as Prime Minister, he changed his views.
He argued for more socially responsible economic policies, and was elected President in the 1995 presidential election with 52.6% of the vote in the second round, beating Socialist Lionel Jospin, after campaigning on a platform of healing the “social rift”.
In 1956, he married Bernadette Chodron de Courcel, with whom he had two daughters: Laurence (born 4 March 1958, deceased 14 April 2016) and Claude (6 December 1962).
Claude has long worked as a public relations assistant and personal adviser.
Chirac’s economic policies, based on dirigisme, allowing for state-directed investment, stood in opposition to the laissez-faire policies of the United Kingdom under the ministries of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, which Chirac famously described as “Anglo-Saxon ultraliberalism”.
He is also known for his stand against the American-led assault on Iraq in 2003, his recognition of the collaborationist French Government’s role in deporting Jews, and his reduction of the presidential term from 7 years to 5 through a referendum in 2000.
At the 2002 French presidential election, he won 82.2% of the vote in the second round against the far-right candidate, Jean-Marie Le Pen.
During his second term, however, he had a very low approval rating, and was considered one of the least popular presidents in modern French history.
On 15 December 2011, the Paris court declared Chirac guilty of diverting public funds and abusing public confidence, and gave him a two-year suspended prison sentence.