Ex-French president Giscard dies of COVID-19

Source: AFP Published: 2020/12/3 17:08:40

Former French president Valery Giscard d'Estaing, a leading advocate of European integration who led his country into a new modern era, has died of COVID-19, his family said. He was 94.

Giscard, who had been in hospital several times in recent months for heart problems, died late Wednesday "surrounded by his family" at his family home in the Loire region.

"His state of health had worsened and he died as a consequence of COVID-19," the family said in a statement sent to AFP, adding that his funeral would be strictly private, according to his wishes.

French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to his predecessor, saying Giscard's seven-year term had "transformed France."

Giscard made one of his last public appearances on September 30, 2019 for the funeral of another former president, Jacques Chirac, who had been his prime minister.

He became the 20th century's youngest president at 48 when he beat his Socialist rival Francois Mitterrand in 1974, to whom he then lost after his seven-year term in 1981 in a failed reelection bid.

His presidency marked a clear break from the Gaullist conservatism of postwar France, which had been dominated by Charles de Gaulle and his successor Georges Pompidou.

In France, Giscard is remembered for his radical reform drive, which included the legalization of abortion, the liberalization of divorce and the lowering of the voting age to 18.


Posted in: EUROPE

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