He had only been to the Pacific once before…

Valéry Giscard D’Estaing died on Thursday 3 December at the age of 94. He had been President of the French Republic in 1974. He had not been re-elected in 1981. He had indeed lost the election to François Mitterrand. Valéry Giscard D’Estaing was undoubtedly the last of the great French politicians. He had been French Minister of Finance for fifteen years under the presidencies of General De Gaulle, then Georges Pompidou.

A right-wing centrist

Although he lowered the age of majority to 18 and legalized abortion, Valéry Giscard D’Estaing was a conservative. He had notably created the great centrist party UDF (in France, the centrists lean to the right). Like most of his political friends, Valéry Giscard D’Estaing was not in favour of the independence of Caledonia nor of French Polynesia. However, he had only been to the Pacific once before in 1979.

The Caledonians were wary of him.

Valéry Giscard D’Estaing not very appreciated in Caledonia. This for two reasons. The first is that Caledonians prefer the right to the centrist. The undisputed hero of non independentist Caledonia was Jacques Chirac, the sworn enemy of VGE. He came to Caledonia ten times (he was President of the Republic between 1995 and 2007). The second reason is that Valery Giscard D’Estaing was President of the Republic at the time of the independence of the New Hebrides*, which became Vanuatu in 1980. Since then, the non independentist Caledonians have never ceased to be wary of this great bourgeois with the appearance of an aristocrat who had nothing in common with the culture of the islands…

*The New Hebrides was administered by France and England.