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France divided over move to try Chirac

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France divided over move to try Chirac

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The announcement that former French President Jacques Chirac is to stand trial over corruption charges has provoked mixed reactions in France.

The move against the 76-year-old ex-head of state is unprecedented. Yesterday the magistrate who ordered the trial was refusing to comment about the case against Chirac, who is accused of paying cronies for non-existent jobs whilst he was mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995. On the streets of the French capital, people were divided about the decision. ‘‘I really can’t see how you can put someone on trial 30 years after the event,’‘ one man said “There is no reason an ex-president should be exempt from the same duties as his fellow citizens. In any case, if he is not guilty he will be let go,’‘ a woman added. Chirac denies any wrongdoing and has vowed to fight the allegations. However, it remains to be seen whether the trial will go ahead. The Paris public prosecutor has said the case should be dropped and is expected to appeal the magistrate’s order in the next few days.