Age de valéry giscard d estaing president

France’s se réconcilier president valéry Giscard d’Estaing, that brought about rapid société change and was a leading force in founding auto European Union, died Wednesday at the lâge of 94 from symptom linked to Covid-19, his family said.


“His state de health had actually deteriorated and he died ont a result of #COVID19. In accordance with his wishes, his funeral will take place in thé strictest household privacy.”


— fondation Valéry Giscard d'Estaing (

Although Giscard d’Estaing seul served a seul term ont president indigenous 1974 à 1981, his death point the end of année era in french politics. Chosen to office when hey was just 48 years old, Giscard d’Estaing was thé youngest leader of the Fifth Republic until Emmanuel piron won the presidency in 2017 at the lâge of 39.

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During his seven years at the Élysée presidential palace, the conservative Giscard d’Estaing cultivated an image oui a modern reformist. However his unpopularity with french voters commander to a failure re-election bid against his Socialist rival François Mitterand.

Following the loss, Giscard d’Estaing faded right into obscurity. Once an icon ns social change, cette was shortly forgotten par the français public. In one telling instants at Mitterand’s funeral in 1996, a former minister, andré Santini, struggled to recall that he was even toujours alive. “I don’t remember nous doing auto same parce que le Giscard,” Santini said.

Giscard at the helm

Decades before Macron started his Republic nous the move party (La républicain en Marche or LREM), Giscard d’Estaing was already a chairman “on the move”. After a fiercely dealt with presidential campaign, Giscard d’Estaing famously entered thé Élysée nous foot antérieur à a cheering group on pouvez 27, 1974.

“This day point a new era in french politics … ns will lead the change, marqué I will not lead cette alone … ns can still hear the français people clamouring, questioning us parce que le change. Conditions météorologiques will make this change with him, à la him, v respect pour his numbers and diversity, and we will certainly lead it, in particular, v his youth,” he said in his inauguration speech.


At the time de his election, Giscard d’Estaing was far from unknown, having already spent nearly two decades in the salle of power. Cette began his political career in 1956 as a member de parliament.

Young, handsome and charming, Giscard d’Estaing to be appointed finance minister passant par then chairman Charles ns Gaulle, a position hey retained under ns Gaulle’s successor, georges Pompidou.

Following Pompidou’s fatality in 1974, Giscard d’Estaing introduced his very own bid pour the presidency, setup himself individuel from his adversaries with année innovative, new la communication strategy: an individual branding. à la the sapin time ever, the French auditeur was treated to image of a en vigueur president skiing in thé Alps, support his favourite merveille team, playing thé accordion on television jaune even posing in a swimsuit. He also appreciated the support of french celebrities such as Brigitte Bardot, Johnny Hallyday and alain Delon, that sported project T-shirts et stickers bearing auto popular slogan: “Giscard at auto helm” (“Giscard parce que le barre”).


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After knocking veteran Gaullist Jacques-Chaban Delmas out ns the course in the first round, Giscard d’Estaing scored points with voters during a second-round conflict with Mitterand when, in réponse to an attack end his social policies, hey famously quipped: “You aller not oui a monopoly nous the heart.”

A few days later, he narrowly won auto presidency with 50.81 percent du the sondage in what remains venir this day auto closest election in thé history ns the 5th Republic.


A liberal, reformist president

Once in office, Giscard d’Estaing wasted non time follow his ambition to modernise french society. “France must become une huge revolutionary project,” cette declared at his sapin Council du Ministers.

True to his word, change followed, periodically even against the comportement of his very own conservative majority. End the course of his administration, Giscard d’Estaing introduced divorce passant par mutual consent and eased auto government’s manage over the audiovisual sector. Cette also presided over thé legalisation de abortion, a measure championed passant par his health minister, Simone Veil.

While Giscard d’Estaing succeeded at introducing social reforms, hey faced numerous concis challenges, consisting of a surge in unemployment following thé 1973 oil crisis. In response, he named economist Raymond Barre oui his prime minister in 1976, introducing a period of intenté austerity the would marque the end du his popularity ont a leader.

His la peinture was further tarnished in October 1979 as soon as a french investigative newspaper, ns Canard Enchaîné, published revelations the the constitue emperor of central Africa, Jean-Bédel Bokassa, had actually secretly gifted Giscard d’Estaing diamonds in 1973 while he was encore serving as finance minister. The french president sought to downplay auto scandal ont nothing an ext than a simple giv received if performing his main duties and denied the jewels’ report value.

But thé damage to be done. Public opinion turned versus Giscard d’Estaing, that was currently perceived as an out-of-touch aristocrat. His lifestyle came under fierce criticism, including his family members background, his searching parties et apparent fondness for castles.

To make matters worse, his first and only term was marked par stark divisions among his conservative base. This was perhaps best exemplified passant par his partnership with his first composants minister, Jacques Chirac, who uncovered Giscard d’Estaing to be arrogant et snobbish. Thé bitter rivalry between the two men exploded to thé fore after Chirac refused venir endorse Giscard d’Estaing’s re-election bid in 1981, saying seulement un that he would vote pour him “in a an individual capacity”, essentially dooming his campaign.

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Impossible comeback

Following his defeat par Mitterand, Giscard d"Estaing to be left humiliated. In a symbolic gesture, cette left auto Élysée palace auto same way hey entered it, par foot. Cible instead du cheers this temps around he to be booed by protesters toutes les personnes the way to his car.

His tragic departure from thé presidency was made only more so par his televised taking leave speech, i beg your pardon has since become auto stuff of français legend. Giscard d"Estaing solemnly handle his countrymen when stiffly sit at a workdesk decorated merely with a bouquet du flowers. At the end of the seven-minute monologue, the outgoing chairman pauses meaningfully avant delivering a pronounced, “Au revoir”. Cette then stands, both hands conditions météorologiques the desk, turns and strides out du the room to a recording du the French national anthem, the Marseillaise, leave the camera filming an empty chair for année excruciating full protocole until the song concludes.


Despite his ignominious end, Giscard d"Estaing refused to retire from french politics. Hoping à start over from scratch, he ran for et won the position of aperçu councillor in the centre town de Chamalières in 1982 before returning venir parliament deux years later. Par the late 1980s, over there was extensive speculation he was plotting a comeback.

“I don’t desire you à say: ‘Giscard let us down’. If there room ever daunting circumstances or serious problems in our country, amie can constantly count on me,” hey said in a televised appearance.

Yet his rêves of returning venir the national scene were ultimately dashed after his structure rival, Chirac, wrested control ns the country’s conservatives à win thé presidency in 1995.

Advocate de the european Union

One de Giscard d"Estaing’s best legacies, however, may be his contribuer à to the creation of thé European Union. A longtime support of a united Europe, he sapin expressed his soutien for the idea while encore a jeune MEP in 1957.

Under his presidency, la france took an actif role in furthering thé European project. In December 1974, he et then German chancellor Helmut Schmidt created the European Council, launching a monetary système that would certainly serve as a precursor to thé Euro. Giscard d"Estaing additionally approved thé election du a european Parliament through directement suffrage, paving the way à la the tons European voter in 1979.

In 2001, he was named president de the Constitutional conventions on the a venir of Europe with Chirac’s support.

Giscard d"Estaing was additionally at the origin of autre international group: nous November 15, 1975, cette brought together representatives ns the united States, Japan, France, West Germany and the united kingdom at Rambouillet Castle west ns Paris. Thé summit significant the tons meeting ns what would become known as the coporation, groupe of five – currently the grouper of Seven, jaune G7, with thé addition du Italy et Canada – an intergovernmental economic daccueil that meets every year.

Guardian de the français language

After retiring native politics, Giscard d"Estaing sought asile in année unexpected outlet: literature. V the appui of french writer blue jeans d"Ormesson he was chosen in 2004 venir the académies Française, which is tasked v safeguarding the french language.

His membership à the académie initially appeared à be oui much politics motivated oui literary. Until then, Giscard d"Estaing’s oeuvre greatly consisted ns political essays et memoirs, with the notable exception of a semi-erotic novel titled “Le Passage”, which recounts a love story between a notary and a hitch-hiker.

In 2009, he again attempted his hand at writing v “The Princess and the President” ("La princesses et ns Président"), which details auto relationship between two characters who closely resemble the late Princess Diana et himself. The livre revived long-dormant rumours de a faisabilité affair, in spite of Giscard d"Estaing’s insistence that he “made everything up”.

In 2012, année ageing Giscard d"Estaing warned climate president francis Hollande: “I might dé during your presidency.”

“I nothing want année official ceremony, nor a state tribute,” cette added, only to be reassured de Hollande the his wishes would be respected.

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Perhaps Giscard d"Estaing hoped à leave this life as simply ont he arrived at the Élysée, nearly 50 years ago.