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Chirac to Seek French Presidency

November 05, 1994|Associated Press

PARIS — Mayor Jacques Chirac declared his candidacy for president Friday, intensifying the kind of struggle on the right that led to a Socialist victory in 1988.

The bid intensifies a bitter duel between Chirac and Prime Minister Edouard Balladur, both members of the conservative Rally for the Republic party, to represent the right in the two-round elections in April and May.

Balladur's enormous popularity since becoming prime minister in April, 1993, has eroded in recent weeks over scandals in his Cabinet and stubbornly high unemployment.

Chirac, 61, is considered slightly more conservative than Balladur, 65. But both are likely to push ahead selling off state companies and trimming social programs.

The Socialists are banking on rising voter discontent with unemployment, which rose 0.1% this week to 12.7%, and with scandals now claiming members of Balladur's Cabinet.

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