JACQUES CHIRAC WAS ELECTED FIFTH PRESIDENT OF THE FRENCH Fifth Republic on 7 May 1995. After 21 years, a politician claiming the Gaullist mantle is once again the occupant of the Elysée Palace. The spontaneous demonstration of countless thousands of Chirac supporters in the Place de la Concorde on the evening of the 7 May was sweet revenge for a candidate who had previously failed on two occasions to secure election, in 1981 and 1988 against the Socialist François Mitterrand. Like the former President, Chirac was elected on his third attempt. Like Mitterrand, President Chirac possesses the necessary presidential attributes of perseverance in adversity, a willingness to learn from past mistakes, and the support of a powerful political party.
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