At age 69, Jacques Chirac
faced his fourth campaign for the French Presidency
in 2002. He was the first choice of fewer than one voter in five in the first round of voting of the presidential elections
of April 2002. It had been expected that he would face incumbent prime minister Lionel Jospin
on the second round of elections; instead, Chirac faced controversial far right
politician Jean-Marie Le Pen
of the law-and-order, anti-immigrant National Front
, and won re-election by a landslide; most parties outside the National Front had called for opposing Le Pen, even if it meant voting for Chirac. Slogans such as "vote for the crook, not for the fascist" or "vote with a clothespin on your nose" appeared.
<blockquote>"We must reject extremism in the name of the honour of France, in the name of the unity of our own nation," Chirac said before the presidential election. "I call on all French to massively vote for republican ideals against the extreme right."
The left-wing Socialist Party
being in thorough disarray following Jospin's defeat, Chirac reorganized politics on the right, establishing a new party — initially called the Union of the Presidential Majority, then the Union for a Popular Movement
(UMP). The RPR had broken down - a number of members had formed Eurosceptic
breakaways. While the Giscardian liberals of the Union of French Democracy (UDF
) had moved sharply to the... Read More