Published: 29 Nov 2012 17:15 GMT+01:00 | Print version
Updated: 29 Nov 2012 17:15 GMT+01:00
The battle for leadership of the right-wing opposition UMP between rivals Jean-François Copé and François Fillon forced the cancellation of a planned event on Thursday to celebrate former French president Jacques Chirac’s 80th birthday.
Chirac, who served as president from 1995 to 2007 as a representative of the predecessor party to the UMP, was to have blown out his four-score candles at a celebration with friends from the party.
But the still unresolved spat between Copé and Fillon prevented that leaving Chirac’s anniversary as a strictly private family affair, with plans for a reunion with selected party colleagues and intimate friends put off until next week.
Le Parisien called it “collateral damage” from the party’s fratricidal war but the newspaper also highlighted Chirac’s failing health as putting a damper on celebratory festivities.
His walks and other sorties in Paris have become more rare in recent weeks, although he regularly visits his private office in the seventh arrondissement, as well as a brasserie on the Boulevard Saint-Germain, where he likes to sip an aperitif, the newspaper says.
He is following the UMP leadership war, but at a distance and without taking sides, Le Parisien said, citing one of his former ministers.
But otherwise, Chirac, former mayor of Paris and two-time prime minister, appears to be struggling.
According to reports he can’t hear or walk very well and his memory is failing him, while he is seeing fewer visitors and appears tired.
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