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Former French President Jacques Chirac Dies at 86

© AP Photo / Michael Sawyer, poolFormer French President Jacques Chirac
Former French President Jacques Chirac - Sputnik International
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As a president was known for his economic policies, based on dirigisme, allowing for state-directed investment. Chirac also opposed the American-led invasion of Iraq and shortened the presidential term from seven to five years in a referendum in 2000.

Jacques Chirac, who led France from 1995 to 2007, died on Thursday, his son-in-law told media. Russian President Vladimir Putin, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and many other politicians expressed their condolences to the family of the ex-president.

Chirac was born in 1932 into the family of an executive for an aircraft company. He began his civil service career in the 1950s and even joined the Communists, but in 1967 ran as a Gaullist for a seat in the National Assembly.

After serving as minister of agriculture and minister of the interior, he became the head of government twice and was the mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995.

© AP Photo / Laurent ReboursQueen Elizabeth II and French President Jacques Chirac shake hands as Republican Guards salute the queen's arrival at the Elysee Palace in Paris Monday, April 5, 2004, as she started a three-day state visit to France to mark 100 years of formal friendship between France and Britain.
Former French President Jacques Chirac Dies at 86 - Sputnik International
Queen Elizabeth II and French President Jacques Chirac shake hands as Republican Guards salute the queen's arrival at the Elysee Palace in Paris Monday, April 5, 2004, as she started a three-day state visit to France to mark 100 years of formal friendship between France and Britain.

He was elected president in 1995 and secured a second term in 2002, supported by 82 percent of voters after competing against the leader of the right-wing National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen.

As president, he suffered a stroke in 2005 and in 2007 announced that he wouldn't participate in the following elections. After his retirement, he established the Fondation Chirac, a humanitarian organisation that aims for peace and conflict prevention across the globe. However, his deteriorating health prevented the ex-president from political activity.

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