Embattled French President Jacques Chirac will be further weakened by the rejection of Paris' bid for the 2012 Olympic games. Chirac had campaigned hard for the Olympics in hopes of shoring up his approval ratings. After French voters rejected his push for approval of a European Union constitution in a May 29 referendum, his popularity slid to 21%, the lowest of any French President in modern times. A Cabinet reshuffle in June, including the appointment of his protégé Dominique de Villepin as Prime Minister, did nothing to stem the decline. Now, loss of the Olympics bid reinforces the impression that Chirac is ineffective and that France, with 10.5% unemployment and an economy expected to grow no more than 1.5% this year, trails further in the global race.
Edited by Rose Brady