Le Figaro said that the reforms undertaken during his presidency had not followed an overall plan, while La Tribune criticized Chirac for not having drawn enough attention to the economy. La Croix argued that the outgoing president could have left
Europewith his head held high if it had not been for the failed referendum. (source here)
Very little was said about the allegations of corruption Chirac may face once he steps down. It is funny that the French should seem so forgiving for a man once caricatured as "super-liar" on French television. A remnant of public affection of the French citizen for their king-like president? Maybe… Corruption apart, Chirac’s legacy is not that great:
The editorialist Françoise Fressoz in Les Echos considers that Chirac's presidency was marked by "two political catastrophes: the failed dissolution in 1997 and the 'no' vote in the referendum on the European Constitutional Treaty, both of which revealed the same weakness.”. (Les Echos)
"Convention demands that we say nice things about people when they retire but, in the case of Jacques Chirac, it is not easy.(…/…)
He won the presidency in 1995 by running, extraordinarily, as the anti-Establishment candidate - despite first having become prime minister 21 years before. He passed himself off as a beer-sipping populist, despite being the very model of a haughty énarque. The wonder is that the old rogue kept getting away with it.
It is said that, in a democracy, people get the politicians they deserve.
deserved better. France
"Chirac's legacy of 40 years in French politics will not be remembered for many achievements. Chirac himself rarely followed the advice he gave to his people on Sunday evening." (source here)
In the Financial Times (
"Most analysts agree that 'Chiraquisme', apart from supporting farmers, does not stand for much"
Nicknamed the "weathervane" for his ability to shift as it suited him - he went from championing state control in the 1970s to Ronald Reagan's free-market liberalism in the 1980s, from nuclear testing to eco-champion, eurosceptic to euro-defender
Mr Chirac is most criticised for failing to steward change in
and for calling a referendum on the EU constitution in 2005, then failing to sell the idea to the electorate, who voted no. France
People even jest that the museum of primitive art in
, the Quai de Branly Museum, is the one and only tangible result that Chirac has come up with in his own country. The past few years have indeed shown no ideology, no vision, no mission for the future." (source here) Paris
Only.... the Chinese really paid tribute to Chirac. Some compliment!
So what’s to remember?
The FT has encapsulated Chirac’s legacy in a few good words:
Yet even his critics concede he did some things right. He is widely praised for admitting France's responsibility for deporting Jews during German occupation in the Second World War and in 2003 led 'Old Europe' in opposing the US-led invasion of Iraq and warned of the dangers of American unilateralism."
Although I am personally quite critical of the second praise….