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Chirac says he backs Sarkozy for president

PARIS, March 21 (UPI) -- French President Jacques Chirac says he will support Nicolas Sarkozy in the race for the presidency.

Parislink says years of animosity between the two men appear to behind them.

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"I created the UMP (party) to allow France to lead a rigorous, lasting modernization process," said Chirac. "This party has chosen Nicolas Sarkozy as its candidate for the presidential elections thanks to his many qualities. It is only natural that I vote for him and give him my support".

Sarkozy, one of 12 candidates running to replace Chirac, resigned Monday from his position as interior minister. Parislink said Sarkozy's position is expected to be filled by Francois Baroin.

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