Chirac's spokeswoman retires from Elysee

8th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 8 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac's long-time spokeswoman, Catherine Colonna, will step down in two weeks to become the head of France's state-run film advisory board, the government announced Wednesday.

PARIS, Sept 8 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac's long-time spokeswoman, Catherine Colonna, will step down in two weeks to become the head of France's state-run film advisory board, the government announced Wednesday.  

Colonna - known for being a well-spoken, straight shooter who did not play favorites - has served as the voice of the Elysee Palace since Chirac was elected head of state in 1995, beating all longevity records in the high-profile post.  

The elegant, 48-year-old blue-eyed blonde, a native of Tours in the Loire valley, was to be replaced by Jerome Bonnafont, who currently serves as one of Chirac's diplomatic advisors.  

Colonna, who studied at the prestigious Institute for Political Studies in Paris and the National Administration School (ENA), worked for four years at the French embassy in Washington upon graduation before returning to Paris.  

She worked in various government posts, including as deputy foreign ministry spokeswoman, before arriving at the Elysee in 1995.  

Former prime and foreign minister Alain Juppe and Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin, who was Juppe's chief of staff at the foreign ministry, urged Chirac to meet Colonna, praising her authoritative style and diplomatic flair.  

Although Colonna's personal politics are left-leaning, she quickly became one of the conservative Chirac's most influential aides, accompanying him on his trips abroad and attending endless speechwriting sessions.  

Last year, she passionately defended France's refusal to back the US-led war to topple then Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.  

She earned the respect of the presidential press corps by treating everyone equally. Although she sometimes revealed little at news conferences, she gave candid off-the-record comments, making her an invaluable source for reporters.  

Colonna said she would miss the hustle and bustle that was her life for the better part of a decade.  

From September 22, the ex-spokeswoman will head the National Center for Cinematography, a state-run administrative body responsible for the regulation, financial support and promotion of French film.

© AFP

 

Subject: French News

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