In the past few weeks, the French government has shown itself dependent on the support of Monsieur Jacques Chirac.
LV, SV AND CU-INTERIOR Chirac at desk in party office. (3 shots)
CU: photograph of de Gaulle on windowsill.
TGV: city of paris from window.
ANGLE VIEW: LA Tour Mont Parnasse (party headquarters)
1976: SV: Raymond Barre and Chirac shake hands at door of Elysee Palace, Chirac enters car.
GV: crowd at rally PAN TO Chirac with arms raised, crowd clap. (2 shots)
SCU: Chirac speaking.
MV PAN: Chirac leaves car enters office.
GV AND CU: party committee members seated round table (2 shots)
GV: Chirac enters, kisses woman member, takes seat, ??? round table. (2 shots)
SV: Chirac enters room at Town Hall, shakes hands with colleagues.
SVs & CUs: city officials in conference with Chirac. (6 shots)
SV: Madame Chirac at horticultural show. (2 shots)
SV: Chirac planting tree (2 shots)
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Background: In the past few weeks, the French government has shown itself dependent on the support of Monsieur Jacques Chirac. He is a former Prime Minister who now holds no government office. But he is the leader of the Rally for the Republic, the re-formed Gaullist party, which is the largest parliamentary group behind Monsieur Raymond barre's coalition. Without its backing, given with some reluctance, the government would not have survived a recent confidence vote on its economic measures.
SYNOPSIS: Monsieur Chirac is 44. He rose through one of France's elite training academies, the National School of Administration, became a civil servant, and entered Parliament in 1967. Although he was then only in his early 30s, he was immediately made a junior minister. He has a reputation for energy, efficiency and bluntness. The late President Pompidou, to whom he owed his rapid promotion, used to call Chirac his 'bulldozer'.
Now it is the Gaullist tradition that he carries on in his party office high above Paris -- the city of which he became Mayor two months ago.
Last August, he resigned as Prime Minister, and Monsieur barre was appointed in his place. He had been Premier for three years, ever since President Giscard d'Estaing took office. But there were too many differences between them: over taxation, defence and political strategy in facing the challenge of the left. Chirac found he could no longer serve under Giscard.
A few months later, he emerged as major political figure in his own right. He was elected President of the newly formed Rally for the Republic. In a rousing speech at a mass meeting in Paris, he roared into the attack against the Socialist-Communist opposition alliance.
His aim was to bring unity and a new sense of purpose to the anti-Socialist forces in France.
Monsieur Chirac found the Gaullist party in disarray after the last Presidential election, when its official candidate, Jacques Chaban-Delmas, was defeated in the first round. While he was Prime Minister, he took on the office of party secretary-general for a time in an attempt to rejuvenate it. Now, he has broadened its base, and is forging a machine to fight off the left-wing challenge in the general elections due next March. It promises to be formidable. Last week's opinion polls gave the alliance of the left 56 per cent of the national vote.
From a party committee meeting, Monsieur Chirac may go straight to a session with his senior officials at the Town Hall. His decision to run for the Mayoralty of Paris this year was in itself a direct political challenge to President Giscard. He opposed, and defeated, an official government candidate as well as the candidates of the left -- and this in a year when the left was making massive gains in the rest of the country.
Madame Bernadette Chirac takes her share of official civic duties -- such as this visit to a city horticultural display. She and Monsieur Chirac married in 1956. They have two daughters.
Monsieur Chirac planting a tree in Paris -- on the day decreed by the president as the 'national day of the tree'. As it grows, so may his hopes, -- to be the next President of the Republic himself.