Former French president faces trial

Jacques Chirac, who faces corruption charges, is the first former head of state to stand trial since World War II.

    After years of claiming immunity to avoid legal proceedings, Jacques Chirac, the former president of France, is finally facing a court.

    The 78-year-old statesman faces a month in court on charges that he masterminded a scheme to have Paris City Hall pay for work that benefited his political party when he was mayor - before he became president in 1995.

    Chirac is the first former head of state to go on trial since the country's Nazi-era leader was exiled.

    A prison term is seen as highly unlikely, but in principle if convicted, Chirac could be jailed for up to 10 years and fined $210,000.

    France's restive political circles are gearing up for next year's presidential race, but the fallout from this trial is unlikely to hit anyone other than Chirac and the nine other defendants including a grandson of General Charles de Gaulle and a former left-wing labor union leader.

    Still, the trial looms as an embarrassing coda to Chirac's 12-year presidential term, potentially denting his legacy, recent philanthropic work and image as one of France's most popular personalities since he left office.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The peace games: Dreaming big for South Sudan's youth

    The peace games: Dreaming big for South Sudan's youth

    A relatively new independence and fresh waves of conflict inspire a South Sudanese refugee to build antiwar video games.