French political stalwart Jacques Chirac, dies aged 86

FILE PHOTO: French President Jacques Chirac stands in front of the statue of General de Gaulle during a ceremony to mark Victory Day at the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, May 8, 2007. REUTERS/Jacques Brinon/Pool/File Photo

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

One of France’s notorious and longstanding political figures, Jacques Chirac, has died aged 86.

Chirac served twice as France’s President and twice as its Prime Minister, as well as holding the office of Mayor of Paris for 18 years.

His career as President spanned 1995 and 2007, a period which did not look kindly on Chirac’s lack of action to address divisions across the country, employment, debt problems or the economic situation.

Among the political charm he showed towards fellow Foreign leaders and his people and his tendency to change his stances and politics with the wind, Chirac will be best remembered for objecting to the 2003 Iraq War.

While the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush prepared for military action in Iraq, Chirac lead France’s opposition to the conflict.

He commented only a week before the military operations started that, ‘War is always a last resort. It is always proof of failure. It is always the worst of solutions because it brings death and misery.’

Chirac’s approval ratings roared up to 90%.

In addition to his reticence towards conflict, Chirac also showed a real interest in improving road safety. During his tenure, the politician introduced a number of reforms which saw the saving of 8,500 people’s lives in four years.

Prior to his death, Mr Chirac had been suffering from memory loss which had been linked to Alzheimers Disease and a small stroke he suffered while in office.