Chirac shuns 'guilty' Napoleon

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The bicentenary of the battle of Austerlitz, Napoleon's greatest victory, is to be shunned by France's two leading politicians. Their absence comes amid an escalating row over whether to fete the emperor as a great leader or denounce him as a dictator.

Neither President Jacques Chirac nor his prime minister, Dominique de Villepin - an ardent admirer of Napoleon - will take part in the official ceremonies to mark the French army's defeat of Austrian and Russian forces on Dec 2, 1805.

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