Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, September 25th, 2020

World Leaders Pay Tribute to France’s Former President Jacques Chirac

World Leaders Pay Tribute to France’s  Former President Jacques Chirac

PARIS - A funeral service for France’s former president Jacques Chirac, who died last week aged 86, is being held at the Saint-Sulpice church in central Paris as France holds a national day of mourning for its president who served from 1995-2007.
Many world leaders are attending alongside current French president Emmanuel Macron to pay their respects, including former US president Bill Clinton and Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Thousands of people queued to view the coffin yesterday and thousands of tributes have poured out across the world for Chirac, whose high-profile political career spanned four decades. He was president for 12 years from 1995 to 2007.
But questions have also resurfaced surrounding how much Chirac actually achieved during his lengthy spell in office, as well as discussion surrounding his 2011 conviction for graft when he was mayor of Paris.
Despite this, in a recent poll in Le Journal du Dimanche the French voted him the best president of the modern era, alongside Charles de Gaulle, with Chirac’s opposition of the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq considered his greatest political achievement.  
National mourning for Chirac will continue throughout Wednesday and stretch as far at Japan, where the French rugby team will don black armbands in a sign of mourning for Chirac when they play the United States for their World Cup game in Fukuoka.
There is a private service for family members at Les Invalides and then Chirac’s coffin will be driven under military escort through the streets of Paris for the final memorial at Saint-Sulpice church.
The Élysée says 30 heads of state and government are present, including Putin, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban and German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier. German  former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is also present as well as European Union Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker.
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo sent his condolences to France on Sunday, which was the first statement from the US government since Chirac’s death. “Having dedicated his life to public service, former president Chirac worked tirelessly to uphold the values and ideals that we share with France,” said Pompeo.
But there was no acknowledgement of his opposition to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, when Chirac and Putin were united in their opposition. Speaking about Chirac in the UK’s Financial Times newspaper in June, Putin said: “He is a true intellectual, a real professor, a very level-headed man as well as very interesting.”
Analysts say there is such an outpouring of emotion for Chirac because he was considered a warm politician who was more comfortable mixing with the crowd at the annual Paris agricultural fair than giving speeches in the ornate Élysée Palace.
Chirac is to be buried at Montparnasse Cemetery in southern Paris, beside his daughter Laurence who died in 2016 aged 58 due to a battle with anorexia.
Chirac will also be remembered as the first French president to acknowledge the country’s role in the deportation of Jews during World War II and for warning about climate change before it was high on the global political agenda.
But the majority of tributes today are focusing not on policy achievements but instead on Chirac’s charisma and genuine love for a leader whom Macron said on Thursday “embodied a certain idea of France.” (CGTN)