Elections 'haven't entered my mind': Villepin

12th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 12 (AFP) - French prime minister Dominique de Villepin on Monday refused to declare whether he was considering succeeding President Jacques Chirac in 2007 elections, saying he was entirely occupied with running the government.

PARIS, Sept 12 (AFP) - French prime minister Dominique de Villepin on Monday refused to declare whether he was considering succeeding President Jacques Chirac in 2007 elections, saying he was entirely occupied with running the government.

"My answer is always the same: the issue has not come up," de Villepin told radio station RMC in reply to a listener's question.

"I'm not looking at that for a simple reason: the president of the republic has entrusted me with a mission, that of governing France, in a difficult period. The French are daily encountering a lot of difficulties, so I am entirely involved in my task and the question of these elections has not entered my mind," de Villepin said.

Speculation has been rife in France that Villepin has become Chirac's heir-apparent and would stand in the elections, following the president's hospitalisation last week for what his doctors said was a minor vascular incident.

The prime minister will replace Chirac, 72, at the UN world summit in New York this week after the president was advised not to fly for six weeks.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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