INTERNATIONAL: Monod resigns as Chirac adviser

PARIS: The communications adviser who led French president Jacques Chirac's re-election campaign is to step down.

Jerome Monod, the strategist Chirac hired in January 2000 to organise his re-election campaign - which Chirac then won this May with 72 per cent of the vote - will now move on.

Monod, the former chairman of water firm Lyonnaise des Eaux, has decided to retire from political life now that he has successfully engineered Chirac's comfortable victory in the 5 May poll.

Another major change in the Elysee Palace PR team is the expected departure of the President's daughter, Claude Chirac, who has told friends that after many years as her father's principal media adviser, she would like to pursue other interests.

With the confirmed departure of Monod and the expected departure of Claude Chirac, Jerome Peyrat - a Chirac loyalist who was a spokesman for the President when he arrived in office for his first term in 1995 - is expected to be named imminently to a 'major' post at the Elysee Palace.

Peyrat became comms director at Paris City Hall in 1998, but his most recent role was in charge of political comms for the newly created neo-Gaullist party, the Union pour la Majorite Presidentielle (UMP).

It is expected Peyrat will be given many of the PR duties held previously by Monod, with the possibility of taking on the additional media relations brief until now held by Claude Chirac.

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