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Chirac criticises Sarkozy in his memoirs

Matthew Warren · 8 Jun 2011, 09:25

Published: 08 Jun 2011 10:01 GMT+02:00
Updated: 08 Jun 2011 09:25 GMT+02:00

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In a break with French political tradition, Chirac has criticised his successor in his new memoirs.

The attacks appear in the second volume of the memoirs, called Le temps presidentiel. Extracts are being published in a number of media outlets this week.


In Le Point, Chirac characterizes the President as "nervous, impetuous, brimming with ambition and not doubting anything, certainly not himself". He mentions several conflicts the two had when Sarkozy was Chirac's Interior Minister, a post he held until 2007.


"I refused to get involved in the test of strength that he tried to establish between us. I felt this could only be destructive to our institutions". It was as Interior Minister that Sarkozy made his infamous comment after the riots in November 2005 that he would like to clear away the scum or rabble of the suburbs with a Kärcher high-powered hose. Chirac cites this as an example of his often "misplaced declarations".


In another extract to be published in Le Nouvel Observateur, he describes the night of Sarkozy's victory on May 6th 2007.


"We were all at the Elysée Palace with my wife, Bernadette, and my grandson Martin, to listen to the first declaration of the future Head of State. We all listened very carefully to each word, each sentence, hoping for the moment when he would say the name of the person he was succeeding and even to thank him for the support he had given. But this moment didn't come. I didn't show the slightest reaction, but it affected me and I knew from then where I stood." 


Not all the former President's assessments are bad. Chirac also acknowledges Sarkozy's qualities, his strong work ethic and his talent for the media and describes him as "one of the most gifted politicians of his generation". 

Matthew Warren (news.france@thelocal.com)

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