The World: Political Poker Is His Game

Jacques Chirac is in a hurry. He always has been. Of all the mannerisms that reveal him, perhaps none is more telling to a Frenchman's taste than the way he eats: furiously and fast, raising only the question of how much he savors as he dines.

Chirac has chewed his way through France's political structure at a frenzied pace. At 30, after graduation from France's elite civil service academy, L'Ecole Nationale d'Administration, he won a position on the staff of Georges Pompidou, then Charles de Gaulle's Premier. In the next decade he held five ministerial posts, and at 41 became the youngest...

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