Chirac to leave, what next for France? That’s how the French press described President Jacques Chirac’s decision to bow out. His announcement was watched closely by those angling to take his place at the Elysee Palace. “I found his speech very good, very moving,” said Francois Bayrou. “He emphasized the values of our country which aren’t always the same as those of other countries. We have priorities which aren’t the same as those of others. He has shown us the way forward.”
“He showed dignity,” said Segolene Royale. “In his speech he referred to constitutional values which we all share. It’s an historic moment. We are turning a page in history. A new page is going to be written and it is the French people who will decide what it says.”
The Sarkozy camp, through Brice Hortefeux, a Home Affairs minister, said: “We are different and we want to write a new page, but without tearing up the old one. The page will turn but it doesn’t have to destroy the others that have gone before.”
Now Chirac’s would-be successors have just weeks remaining to convince the electorate that they have what it takes to step into his shoes.