Former PM Edouard Balladur retires at 77

6th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 5, 2006 (AFP) - Former conservative French prime minister Edouard Balladur, a hapless rival to President Jacques Chirac in the 1995 presidential election, said Thursday he was retiring from politics.

PARIS, Oct 5, 2006 (AFP) - Former conservative French prime minister Edouard Balladur, a hapless rival to President Jacques Chirac in the 1995 presidential election, said Thursday he was retiring from politics.

Balladur, 77, said in a statement he would not stand in next year's legislative elections, which are due to take place after the presidential poll in April.

In a brief statement, Balladur, a lawmaker for a constituency in Paris, said public life needed to take a new course and added: "This renewal of ideas and methods needs new people."

Balladur was prime minister in 1993-95 and economy and finance minister in 1986-88 in a power-sharing government under the late Socialist president François Mitterrand.

He is close to conservative presidential hopeful and interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, who campaigned for him in 1995 and leads the ruling Union for a Popular Movement.

Balladur is said to have pledged support for Sarkozy's bid to replace Chirac, who will be 74 next month.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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