French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing has made a call for "liberalisation, effort and unity" in his country.
French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing has made a call for "liberalisation, effort and unity" in his country. He was speaking on Thursday (26 January) during the campaign for the country's forthcoming national assembly elections.
SYNOPSIS: The President chose Auxerre, the picturesque capital of lower Burgundy, as the venue for his address. He is popular there and large crowds had turned out to greet him when he was met by the mayor, Jean-Pierre Soissons. M. Soissons is secretary-general of the Republican Party, one of three coalition government parties and the party closest to President Discard.
It was in Auxerre that the President launched the campaign that led him to victory at the polls in 1974.
He told his audience France was an old country that faced new challenges. He said these could not be met with old slogans. Later in his campaign President Giscard is expected to tell voters which way he thinks they should vote, but on this occasion he did not give any direct indication.
President Giscard did however point out the achievements of the coalition government of Gaullists, Republicans and Centrists. He said the obstinate, patient efforts of the government had borne fruit. France's inflation rate was down to half last year's figure and he said unemployment was being reduced.
Opinion polls at present point to a victory for the opposition Left in the March elections. But French political commentators anticipate that President Giscard will warn voters not to risk experiments which could wreck the economy. The President has not commented on his own role after the elections, but he has previously stated that he will remain in office until the presidential elections in 1981.