Jacques Chirac has bid his final goodbye to the people of France after 12 years as their President. After accepting the resignation of Dominique De Villepin’s government he went on television to address the nation.
He said: “I will continue to work to promote French culture and economic development. I will give my experience and my time, freely, to take projects forward in France and throughout the world. “I know that the new President of the Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, has the heart, the courage, to drive our country even further forward into the future and all my best wishes go with him.
“As for France, our nation, my dear compatriots, we can always be truly proud. Long live France and long live the Republic.”
Now it is Nicolas Sarkozy’s moment – the culmination of his declared life’s ambition. He will step into his former mentor’s shoes in an official ceremony at the Elysee Palace and immediately start appointing his new government in a bid to drive through his ambitious social and economic reforms.