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French presidential election 2012

Chirac to vote Hollande in French presidential election, report

Reuters/Charles Platiau
3 min

France’s former right-wing president Jacques Chirac is to vote for Socialist François Hollande in this month’s presidential election, according to the historian who is helping him write his memoirs.

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Chirac has had a troubled relationship with incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy since Sarkozy deserted him to back Edouard Balladur as the right’s presidential candidate in 1995.

Last year Chirac told reporters that he would vote Hollande but quickly retracted, claiming that he had been joking.

But historian Jean-Luc Barré says that the former president, who founded Sarkozy’s UMP in 2002, will back the Socialist.

“Jacques Chirac is being true to himself in declaring that he will vote for Hollande,” he told the Le Parisien daily.

“I often visit him, we lunch and dine together,” Barré told the tabloid. “After four years of exchanges, I believe I’m one of the people who knows best what’s on his mind.”

Chirac’s daughter Claude and his son-in-law, Frédéric Salat-Baroux, will also vote Hollande, Le Parisien says, but his wife, Bernadette, who has backed Sarkozy publicly, will not.

Chirac and Hollande both built political bases in the Corrèze region in south-west France and, according to Barré, they “share the same attachment to republican values and opposition to all forms of extremism and discrimination”.

Since the end of his term in office in 2007, Chirac’s health has declined and, apart from last year’s contradictory statements, has refrained from making political comments in public.

Last September Chirac was allowed not to attend his trial for corruption on health grounds. Salat-Barroux at the time said that his memory was failing.

 

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