PRESIDENT Jacques Chirac’s tumbling popularity amongst the French public has been revealed in a survey that shows many consider he has little influence over the direction of the country.
A poll reveals that 72 per cent regarded the influence of their president, who turns 73 tomorrow, over what happens in France as "weak".
The finding were published in the daily Le Parisien and showed that even in his ruling party, the UMP, only 43% of voters feel Mr Chirac plays a major role in France.
Chirac has seen his own party suffer a heavy defeat in regional elections, a backlash in the referendum on the European constitution and a mysterious lack of presence during the recent riots across France.
But with presidential elections not due until 2007, the poll raises serious questions about Chirac's lame-duck status and the direction France will take in the future.