Former French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing passed away at the age of 94 due to Covid-19 complications at his home in central France. During the time of his death, his family was by his side.
“His health was worsening, and he passed away as a consequence of Covid-19,” his family told news agencies. Earlier this year, he was hospitalized with respiratory issues and was discharged last month.
Giscard became France’s president at the age of 48 and served from 1974 to 1981. He is known as the architect of European integration. As president, he wanted to improve the country’s economy and launched developmental projects such as the TGV high-speed train network. He is also responsible for bringing modern changes to France’s society, including legitimizing abortion and allowed mutually consented divorces. He brought these changes despite the Catholic Church’s strong opposition. Giscard also lowered the minimum voting age in France from 21 to 18 years.
Although Giscard has done good things for his country and for Europe, he has also faced criticisms and accusations. His popularity began to diminish as his political career was moving forward slowly. His government was known to be the biggest supporter of Jean-Bedel Bokassa, President and military dictator of the Central African Republic and has been accused of receiving gifts from the dictator.
Earlier this year, in a shocking claim, a German reporter accused him of groping her during an interview in 2018. An investigation was launched into the reporter’s accusation; however, the former president denied the charges.
Despite all of this, Giscard will be remembered for bringing modernization to France and working towards Europe’s integration.