Valéry Giscard d'Estaing  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Valéry Marie René Georges Giscard d'Estaing (2 February 1926 – 2 December 2020), also known as Giscard or VGE, was a French politician who served as President of France from 1974 to 1981.

His tenure was marked by a more liberal attitude on social issues—such as divorce, contraception and abortion—and attempts to modernise the country and the office of the presidency, notably launching such far-reaching infrastructure projects as the TGV and the turn towards reliance on nuclear power as France's main energy source. However, his popularity suffered from the economic downturn that followed the 1973 energy crisis, marking the end of the "thirty glorious years" after World War II. Giscard d'Estaing faced political opposition from both sides of the spectrum: from the newly unified left of François Mitterrand and a rising Jacques Chirac, who resurrected Gaullism on a right-wing opposition line.

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