Jacques Chirac continues to lose public support in France, according to a poll by Ifop published in Le Journal du Dimanche. 41 per cent of respondents are satisfied with the presidentâ€™s performance, a two per cent drop since September.
Chirac won the presidential election in 1995, and was re-elected in a run-off over Jean-Marie Le Pen on May 5, 2002. The head of stateâ€™s popularity increased in late 2002 and early 2003 due to his vocal opposition to armed conflict in Iraq without an explicit mandate from the United Nations (UN) Security Council.
On Aug. 20, a group called the Islamic Army abducted French journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot near Baghdad. The group demanded that France revoke a new law banning religious symbolsâ€”including Islamic head scarvesâ€”in public schools. On Oct. 31, French ambassador to Iraq Bernard Bajolet declared that the two hostages “are in good health.” The fate of Chesnot and Malbrunot remains uncertain.0