Bombs, boycotts and scandal: Six months of discontent from Chirac's election to a mass walk-out

FRANCE IN CRISIS
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The Independent Online
17 May

Jacques Chirac becomes President

13 June

Chirac announces that France will resume nuclear testing in the South Pacific. Boycotts of French products take hold in southern hemisphere but also, more damagingly, in Germany.

25 July

Bomb at Saint-Michel Metro kills seven people and injures 80. Slow investigation angers public but suspicion centres on extremist Algerian groups.

7 September

France detonates its first test at Muroroa Atoll, provoking worldwide outrage and large-scale riots in Tahiti.

20 September

Prime Minister Juppe's draft budget for 1996 fails to impress either in France or abroad. It includes concessions to special interest groups and tax rises but little on Chirac's pledge to reduce unemployment.

September: Running battles between French and German officials over whether the franc will be ready to join European Monetary Union in 1999.

Sept/Oct

Mr Juppe faces renewed accusations that he fixed low rent flats for his son - and publicly funded renovations for his own appartment - while finance officer for the City of Paris.

1 October

France detonates second South Pacific bomb, 10 times larger than the first.

10 October

One-day strike by seven unions representing 5 million civil servants, local authority employees hospital staff and other public sector workers to protest against 1996 wage freeze.

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