Jacques Chirac hints departure from politics

8th February 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 8, 2007 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac has given his clearest sign yet that he will stand down in May, saying in a television interview that he envisages life after politics.

PARIS, Feb 8, 2007 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac has given his clearest sign yet that he will stand down in May, saying in a television interview that he envisages life after politics.

Chirac, in office since 1995, said in an interview to be broadcast on Sunday that he hoped to continue to serve France but "in another capacity."

"There is of course life after politics. Until death," Chirac told veteran interviewer Michel Drucker.

"I have always tried to be of service to the French people. If I do not have responsibilities of this nature, well, I will try to serve France in nother capacity," Chirac said, according to excerpts of the interview published in Le Parisien newspaper on Thursday.

"You know, I am not one to live in the past," he said.

 Chirac, 74, was joined by his wife Bernadette who candidly admitted that she will "very much miss" the Elysee Palace where the couple have lived for the past 12 years.

"Yes I will very much miss this house, but I will adapt. One must accept that such is destiny," said Bernadette Chirac during the interview taped on Wednesday.

The French president has yet to officially announce whether he will stand in the April-May presidential election.

Last month, Chirac said he was contemplating a new run at the presidency and would announce his intentions at a later time.  His mandate ends on May 16.

Chirac's governing Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) has chosen Nicolas Sarkozy, the interior minister and party leader, as its official candidate following a primary in which he was the only contender.

Sarkozy has, since winning the nomination on January 14, taken a lead in public opinion polls over rival Segolene Royal, the Socialist candidate who hopes to become France's first woman president.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, Presidential elctions, Jacques Chirac

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