Jacques Chirac's presidency hit a new low yesterday when a poll revealed that most voters think he now has little or no influence over events at home or abroad. Of those polled, 72 per cent regarded the influence of their president - who turns 73 tomorrow - over what happens in France as "weak". Two thirds said his clout on the world stage was feeble, while only 36 per cent thought he held any significant sway over European politics. Condemnation came from all age groups and corners of France. Women were slightly less critical.
The poll, conducted for Le Parisien newspaper by the CSA institute, was all the more humiliating in that the opinion of supporters of Mr Chirac's conservative ruling UMP party was scarcely more favourable than those of voters on the Left. Only 43 per cent of UMP voters thought he still had a leading role to play in France.
I predict that Chirac will resign between Christmas and New Years Day. He's probably trying right now to work out a deal with Villepin and the socialists for a blanket clemency arrangement so he won't be hauled off to jail for his innumerable crimes as mayor of Paris; (as president he has immunity from charges, but that evaporates the second he resigns). I'd say "WHO CARES, AND GOOD RIDDANCE!" as long as he exits TOUT SUITE! [NOTE" De Gaulle RESIGNED, so there is ample precedent and 'good company" for Chirac.]