Former French president Jacques Chirac dies

A towering figure in French politics has passed away

Former French president Jacques Chirac has died
Former French president Jacques Chirac has died

Jacques Chirac, the former French president, has died aged 86.

The news of his death was communicated by his family on Thursday.

Chirac, a towering figure in French politics, served two terms as president of the republic between 1995 and 2007.

He took his country into the single European currency but was unable to convince the French to back a proposed EU constitution in a 2005 referendum.

Chirac was responsible for cutting the term of the French presidency from seven to five years and ending compulsory military conscription.

In 1995, upon taking up the presidency, Chirac shocked the world when he resumed nuclear weapons testing in the Moruroa Atoll in the South Pacific, sparking global protests.

Chirac strongly opposed the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, warning of the consequences it would have.

However, his later years were blighted by scandals and in 2011 he became the first former president to be convicted of corruption following embezzlement charges in a party funding scandal when he was mayor of Paris.

Chirac, then aged 79, received a two-year suspended sentence.