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Former French president Jacques Chirac dies at 86

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Paris, Sep 26: Former French president Jacques Chirac has died at the age of 86. He had reportedly been hospitalised several times in the last ten years with a lung infection.

Jacques Chirac

"President Jacques Chirac died this morning surrounded by his family, peacefully," his son-in-law Frederic Salat-Baroux told reporters.

Chirac, a centre-right politician served as head of state from 1995 to 2007. Under his presidency, France entered into the single European currency and abolished compulsory military service. Chirac also cut the presidential term of office from seven to five years, according to Rueters.

The French leader was also known for his stand against the American-led assault on Iraq, his recognition of the collaborationist French Government's role in deporting Jews, and his reduction of the presidential term from 7 years to 5 through a referendum in 2000.

In 2002 French presidential election, he won 82.2% of the vote in the second round against the far-right candidate, Jean-Marie Le Pen. During his second term, however, he had a very low approval rating, and was considered one of the least popular presidents in modern French history.

On 15 December 2011, the Paris court declared Chirac guilty of diverting public funds and abusing public confidence, and gave him a two-year suspended prison sentence.

OneIndia News (with agency inputs)

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