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Valery Giscard d’Estaing: Dr David Lees comments on a 'modernising if controversial' President of France

Dr David Lees from the School of Modern Languages and Cultures comments on news reports that former president of France Valery Giscard d’Estaing has died.

Dr Lees said: “France has lost a fascinating political leader.

“Valery Giscard d’Estaing, who has died aged 94, was a modernising if controversial President of the Fifth French Republic between 1974 and 1981.

“Giscard was the first non- Gaullist president of the Republic and signalled an end to the continuity following de Gaulle’s presidency. Giscard was an ardent Europhile and one of the architects of the European Constitution that was rejected by the French in 2005. In the course of his presidency, Giscard was responsible for pushing through the reduction in the age of voting to 18, the Veil reforms which legalised abortion and major changes to cultural policy. Giscard was very active in foreign policy, becoming embroiled in a scandal over diamonds gifted to him by the dictator Jean-Bedel Bokassa of the Central African Republic.

“The legacy of Giscard remains one of modernity mixed with controversy. Having recently been accused of sexual misconduct, Giscard continued this trend until his death in hospital in Tours in this most exceptional of years.”

3 December 2020


Peter Thorley
Media Relations Manager (Warwick Medical School and Department of Physics)


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