Chirac, Jacques (France)

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President Jacques René Chirac was elected president in 1995 on the ticket of the right-wing Gaullist party, Rassemblement pour la République (Rally for the Republic; RPR), of which he was the founder. He was prime minister under the right-wing Républicains Indépendants president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing between 1974–76 before resigning to form the RPR. Between 1986–88 he was again prime minister under Socialist Party (PS) president François Mitterrand. He was mayor of Paris between 1977–95. In the 2002 presidential elections he stood for re-election as the candidate of the UMP (Union pour la Majorité Presidentielle) right-wing coalition. Following the shock success of National Front candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen, popular opinion rallied around Chirac in the second round run-off, which he won with a landslide majority. He subsequently disbanded the RPR and formalized the UMP as the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (Union for a Popular Movement). His opposition to US pressure...

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