Third president of the Fifth Republic of France, succeeding Georges Pompidou. He held office from 1974 to 1981.
Giscard d'Estaing was born a member of a wealthy aristocratic French family on Feb. 2, 1926, at Koblenz, Germany, where his father was an official in the French occupation administration. Giscard graduated from the École Polytechnique and the École Nationale d'Administration, where he prepared for a career in the French civil service.
Ecole Polytechnique, Ecole National d’Administration.
He entered politics as a deputy to the assembly, serving from 1956 until 1962. At the age of 36 he became President Charles de Gaulle's minister of finance. He held this office for five years and then returned to the assembly. Because he was critical of some of De Gaulle's policies, he founded the Independent Republican Party in 1966. He returned to the finance ministry in Pompidou's administration in 1969.
The death of Pompidou in April 1974 was followed by elections in which Giscard, leader of the Independent Republicans and spokesman for an even broader array of conservatives and moderates, including Gaullists, faced FrançoisFrancois Mitterrand, leader of the Socialists and candidate of the Socialists and the Communists. Giscard won just over 50 percent of the vote in the runoff election in May.
In 1978 a coalition of non-Gaullist right and center parties, the Union for French Democracy (UDF), was formed to support Giscard. In legislative elections that year the UDF, in alliance with the Gaullists, narrowly defeated the Communists and Socialists.
After 1978 Giscard lost some of his support as his increasingly conservative domestic policies failed to stem a rising rate of inflation while causing a rise in unemployment. As a result, in the presidential elections in May 1981 Giscard was defeated by Mitterrand. The Socialist victory was enlarged in June by a triumph in the legislative elections.
Democratic francaise 1976, Deux frangais sur trois 1984, Le Pouvoir et La Vie 1988.