FRANCE: Relaxed President for a Tense New Era

Fireworks lit up the election-night sky as middle-class voters swarmed up the Champs-Elysées on foot, aboard motor bikes and clinging to the tops of cars. They waved the Tricolor and shouted, "Giscard à la barre! [Giscard at the helm!]." Over in the Left Bank student quarter, meanwhile, small knots of young people gathered under the watchful gaze of riot police to shout sullenly, and absurdly, "A victory for fascism!" Such were the sharply distinct reactions to longtime Finance Minister Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's knife-edge victory over Socialist Françoise Mitterrand in France's presidential runoff...

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