France mourns Jacques Chirac in the presence of leaders of 30 countries

France on Monday mourned former President Jacques Chirac, who died last Thursday at the age of 86, at an official memorial service attended by heads of state and government of more than 30 countries.

France has entered a national mourning today in honor of Chirac, who was one of the most important figures that have characterized political life in France for 40 years.

Since Sunday, the French have flocked thousands to the building of Lesanvalid, which houses the shrines of some of France's top men, such as Napoleon, to greet the coffin of Chirac, one of the most prominent aspects of French political life.

Chirac's political career spans more than 40 years, including 12 years at the Elysee presidential palace, where he was elected president for two consecutive terms in 1995 and 2002.

Jacques Chirac was elected president of France in 1995 after serving as mayor of Paris for 18 years and was re-elected in 2002.

He is known for his opposition to the US invasion of Iraq under former President George W. Bush in 2003, and was the first French president to acknowledge his country's joint responsibility for Holocaust crimes against Jews during World War II.

He led international efforts to set up an international tribunal to try the killers of Lebanon's former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

It is noteworthy that in 2011, a French court sentenced to two years suspended prison sentence for Chirac, after being accused of corruption and waste of public money and exploitation of public confidence.


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