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

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

December 3, 20201 min read
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Dr David Lees from the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Warwick 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.”



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  • Dr. David Lees
    Dr. David Lees Director of Undergraduate Studies, School of Modern Languages and Cultures

    David Lees is an expert in modern and contemporary French politics, history and culture, and political campaigns and propaganda in France.

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