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© La Documentation française. Photo Bettina Rheims
When he became president of France in 1995, Jacques Chirac had already enjoyed an eventful political career. After having joined the ENA (France's École Nationale d'Administration), he joined the cabinet of Georges Pompidou, the then-prime minister since 1962. Elected the MP for Corrèze in 1967, he would only occupy his seat in France's National Assembly for two months, before beginning his long ministerial career at the age of 35.
Secretary of State for Employment, he played a crucial role in the Grenelle agreements on 25th May 1968. The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (1972) and then Interior Minister (1974) under the presidency of Georges Pompidou, upon the latter's death, Chirac supported the campaign of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing during the presidential election of 1974, becoming Prime Minister. After resigning from his post in 1976, which constituted a first in the institutional history of France's Fifth Republic, it was as president of the Rassemblement pour la République (Rally for the Public, or the RPR) political party which he created, that he was elected the Mayor of Paris (1977-1995).
Prime minister in the Cohabitation with François Mitterrand (1986-1988), after 14 years of socialist presidency, Jacques Chirac was elected the president of France on 7th May 1995, with 52.6% of the votes against candidate Lionel Jospin. He was re-elected on 5th May 2002 in the second round of the elections, with 82.21% of the vote against JM Le Pen, for a 5-year term in office following the introduction of the quinquennat (new standard 5-year time in office for French presidents) in 2000.
Since June 2008, Jacques Chirac has been the president of the Fondation pour le développement durable et le dialogue des cultures (the foundation for sustainable development and cultural dialogue).